The #NEXT11 in Twitter numbers

As we mentioned a few days ago, Anton and Anja from the Twingly crew have travelled to Berlin this week to attend the Next Conference 2011. While they aren’t back at the Twingly headquarter yet, we thought we should have a look at the Twitter stats surrounding the event, since we monitored it with our Twingly Liveboard service.

Liveboard is a feature that visualizes the buzz about trends on Twitter. It’s HTML5 based and works with any state of the art browser powered by the WebKit engine, like Chrome and Safari, as well as with Firefox 4, Firefox 3.6, Internet Explorer 9 and Opera.

Here is the link to the Next11 Liveboard showing metrics and stats about the amount of Twitter buzz the two-day-conference got. Everything you see is monitored and presented in real time (here is a screenshot that we took the day before Next11 kicking off).

Let’s summarize the key figures:
Overall number of tweets containing the “next11” keyword: more than 11.000
Tweets about next11 during the time of the conference: almost 9.000
Number of different users tweeting about next11: more than 3000
Number of unique hashtags in tweets mentioning next11: 1200
Number of unique links in tweets mentioning next11: almost 3000

Top 5 Twitter users mentioned in tweets with “next11” hashtag:
@TheNextWeb
@nextconf
@50hz
@CBM
@sesselman

Top 5 Twitter users with most tweets about next11:
@50hz
@nextconf
@sesselmann
@lojanna
@countUP

Top 5 most used hashtags
#next11
#int
#Elevator
#datalove
#soc

Overall, the first conference day on Tuesday led to more tweets than the second one.

Head to our Liveboard for Next11 to see all this in a visually very appealing way, or go the realtime stream of next11-related tweets which actually is still flowing. You can create such a stream yourself, just go to live.twingly.com.

In case you would like to have a Liveboard for your own event to either simply spread the link online or to show it on a big screen at your event location, please send a mail to martin at twingly dot com and we’ll create one for you (the product is still in Alpha stadium). And in case you have any feature suggestions or wishes don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section.

Twingly is announcing planned downtime on October 23rd and 24th

To ensure that we are able to continue growing, we have made the decision to move all our production servers to a brand new co-location facility. The impressive facility is run by Phonera, a premium co-location provider in Sweden.

Service downtime
Because we’re physically moving the servers, downtime is unavoidable. We always strive for 100% up-time, and knowing that this move will help us in providing a better and more reliable service in the future, we feel that it is still worth all the effort of moving the servers.

Continuous updates
During the move we will post regular updates about the progress at http://status.twingly.com. Please use the status blog as your first source of information, but please get in touch with us at any time with questions or concerns.

How does it affect you?


Customers

If you’re a customer, we’ve sent an e-mail with detailed information. It’s important to be aware of how you will be affected of this, so if you’re a customer and haven’t received this information, let us know (info@twingly.com) and we will make sure that you get the information needed.

Pinging and showing up on Twingly’s customers
During the downtime we will not be able to receive pings from you. The manual ping function on twingly.com/ping is estimated to be down for up to 24h from 8 AM local Swedish time, Saturday 23rd October. The automatic ping functionality (rpc.twingly.com) will also be affected but will be back up sooner then the manual. To ensure your blog post will be indexed by us afterwards, ping us again when we’re back up. Content already indexed by us will not be affected and will be displayed as usual in the widgets. This downtime will only affect content produced during the downtime. That content will not be published on our customers sites until it is possible to ping us again.

Blog widgets
Our blog widgets and badges will be affected and will stop working during the downtime. It will not show any data, but will not affect the rest of the page where it is located.

Twingly.com
Twingly.com will be down from Saturday 23rd October, 8 AM local Swedish time for about 24 hours. During this time the following services will not be reachable; Twingly Channels, Twingly Blog Search, Twingly Microblog Search and Twingly.com/ping. Twingly Live will still be up and fully functional.

Get in touch for questions and comments
We are taking every step needed to make the move as swift and secure as possible and want to make sure that we are covering all contingencies. If you have any questions or concerns, let us know.

Contact
info@twingly.com@twingly | facebook.com/twingly | status.twingly.com

How the Real Time Web made a Flower Pot become a Web Celebrity

Sometimes you just need to see the real time web in action to understand its dynamics and power. This was a thought I had when I last week witnessed the sudden rise of a meme in the German Twitter-sphere. Personally I have never seen something similar before in the German speaking microblogging world, at least not with this intensity.

Everything started with an inconspicuous flower pot that belonged to an elder care home in the German city of Münster. One week ago the pot was destroyed by an unknown person. For some reason the “story” made it onto the website of the local newspaper Münstersche Zeitung. Katharina Hövels, the woman who wrote the article, started working at the newspaper a week before and was unexperienced, the paper later explained in a follow-up piece.

At 11:04 pm on Wednesday, Ralf Heimann was apparently the first person on Twitter to publish the link to the article. His tweet was retweeted 36 times, which doesn’t include manual retweets, and it was his tweet that about 12 hours later, on Thursday around lunch, led to the Twitter meme carrying the hashtag #blumenkübel, which is German for flower pot.

I think I noticed the first #blumenkübel tweets at around 12 am, and it was like out of the blue that suddenly my complete Twitter stream was filled with this hashtag. What happened was that some people that did read the original article took the blumenkübel story and adapted it to other recent news events, while some others simply joked about flower pots in general or the fact that the incident was actually reported about.

The more people participated, the more who didn’t read the original article either started to joined or asked what the #blumenkübel thing was all about, which consequently led to a number of blog posts explaining what happened, both in German and even in English. That again helped to increase the number of #blumenkübel mentions.

Using our Blog Search engine we found almost 200 blog posts writing about the topicAccording to the German blog and Twitter aggregator Rivva, 439 people retweeted the link to the original article. That is pretty substantial for Germany which only has about 270.000 active Twitter users according to this analysis. And let’s not forget that the actual story probably didn’t concern any of them.

At Twingly we quickly set up a Twingly Live Channel which at the peak of the #blumenkübel wave showed new tweets every second. It was impressive to watch!

According to the Twitter monitoring service Trendistic, the flower pot meme reached its peak around 2 pm on Thursday. After that the number of tweets containing the hashtag fell but rose again around 5 pm. If you follow Social Web topics you probably can guess why: After a few hours of #blumenkübel-mania, German mainstream media got curious and started to publish reports about how a flower pot became a star on Twitter, and that created new attention for the already diminishing meme. During that time, fake screenshots of CNN covering the broken flower pot and a YouTube video making fun of the flower pot’s fate had already hit Twitter.

The #blumenkübel hashtag actually made it into Twitter’s trending topics for a whole 5 hours, reaching position 4 at best, and increasing awareness of the flower pot tragedy on the other side of the Atlantic. Liz Pullen from What The Trend informed me on Friday that out of 492 trending topics during the past 7 days, #blumenkübel was the 30th most popular, which is remarkable considering the nonsense behind it and the small German twittersphere.

While Twitter was definitely the core of this meme, a Facebook page that was set up on early Thursday afternoon praising the flower pot grew to more than 2000 members on that day, and got even more attention after the national TV station Pro7 picked up the story on Friday evening (30 hours after the meme started). Today, the page has almost 10.000 members, which is significantly more than the number of tweets that was published with the #blumenkübel hashtag.

According to Twitter statistic apps such as What The Hashtag, Dwitter and twitter-trends.de, the hashtag was mentioned somewhere between 3000 and 6000 times from Thursday to Friday around lunch.

So, let’s draw a few conclusions: Twitter and the dynamics of the real time web allow a destroyed flower pot to become a celebrity in no time. It’s hard to explain the phenomenon if you haven’t been directly involved. It’s simply a lot of fun to see a meme grow, to be part of it and to help spread it. It’s an expression of the real time web’s (and the people’s) power. Just imagine how quick really important information could travel on the web if a stupid joke can.

It’s also obvious that Twitter is much faster than Facebook when it comes to viral distribution of information. One reason for that is definitely the more open environment at Twitter, even though Facebook is trying to compete with that. But that does not mean that Facebook does not have a purpose during the rise of an Internet meme. While Twitter is the core of the real time process, people afterwards go to Facebook to look for a group or page to join.

At least in the case of #blumenkübel, Twitter and Facebook didn’t compete but rather completed each other.

/Martin Weigert

How the realtime web changes the world

At Twingly, we are big fans of the realtime web. Well, that shouldn’t come as a surprise since some of our services are built around it – like Twingly Live and Twingly Channels.

The interesting thing with the realtime web is that it is more and more becoming an integral part of the web. People are taking for granted that it is there, without thinking about it. While the term “realtime web” always has been used mainly by web enthusiasts and geeks, the idea of user generated content published in (near) realtime through platforms like Twitter, Facebook or others that allow for instant status updates and search, has spilled over into the Internet mainstream. Considering that Facebook is close to reach 500 million active users and having in mind that the social network encourages people to publish content to the public, it’s very likely that the publicly accessible realtime web is now being populated by hundreds of millions of people.

The contribution of web users all over the world to the continuous stream of information has become an important part of many people’s web usage. And search engines and services like Twitter Search, Snap BirdOneRiot, Tweetmeme, Openbook or even Google and Bing enable anyone to tap into this realtime stream, to see what people are talking right now, which links they are sharing – yes, in fact even to get an overview about the mood of people, right now and by looking back and aggregating status updates.

While most people are aware of the new possibilities and usage patterns triggered by social networks, blogging and microblogging, I’m not sure if everyone has thought about the consequences all this could have on societies and economies.

It’s worth to take a minute and to think about the way the realtime web is changing the world. That sounds like big words, but it might not be exaggerated. The realtime web makes it possible for people to organize without formal leader. We have seen in a few non-democratic countries how Twitter was used as a tool to avoid censorship, to spread news and to inform about upcoming demonstrations and protests. With the realtime web, people can organize faster. Really fast – and as some unofficial street parties in France show, in a way that the authorities have problems to adjust. Imagine what this could mean on a bigger scale. If suddenly and without any previous planning a million people would gather on a city’s main square, after reading about it on Twitter 30 minutes before. A really big flash mob. That’s a power of the people even western societies are not used to.

I don’t want to claim that the realtime web already has made the world more democratic, but it at least has the chance to do so. And it definitely creates transparency. In any second, you can use a variety of technologies to receive people’s honest realtime feedback on products, services and events. Last time everyone could witness this was on Saturday’s final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Following the #esc hashtag on Twitter was almost more fun than watching the show.

Even if you cannot be sure that everything you read is true, the social connections between people and the way they earn trust over time by being a reliable and authentic source of information and opinion acts as a filter, ensuring that not every stupid rumour is going viral.

On the other hand, that’s not always enough. There have been so many occasions when people falsely were said to have died. Those kind of stories do not always come from Twitter or other realtime services, but rather from mainstream media and gossip sites. Still, with the realtime web, they are spreading much faster and reaching people who otherwise never would read celebrity sites or questionable tabloids.

I think it is necessary to highlight that there is a risk involved in the realtime web. A risk that the combination of global connections and weak filters can lead to misinformation’s on a large scale, which could spark unrest or even panic. Especially in a situation where a really bad news is hitting the web, not all people necessarily think about fact-checking or going to another, renowned newspaper site to get a confirmation before sharing the news. So I don’t think it is too far fetch to expect some major case of global misinformation caused by the realtime web. But that’s maybe what needs to happen to make people realize what power the realtime web gave them as a crowd. And fortunately and despite the uncertainty regarding the future of journalism, there will always be professional journalists who can correct false reports or complete incomplete information spreading on the realtime web. That’s one of the main tasks future journalists will have to work with.

Even though there are some question marks about if the realtime web in fact could cause trouble to people, in my eyes the advantages and opportunities are prevailing. More democracy and more transparency could at least in theory lead to a better and more honest world. It’s up to us to make it become real in practice, too.

/Martin Weigert

(Illustration: stock.xchng)

Twingly Live at “Uppdrag granskning” on Swedish Television tonight

Swedish media continues to go realtime. Tonight Swedish public service-broadcaster SVT will use Twingly Live for their show “Uppdrag Granskning”. Twingly Live connects the show to the discussion about it on the real-time web. And for the first time, the Live feed will be fully displayed at the SVT website and in connection to the live broadcasting of the show on the web.

“Step by step we are upgrading SVT.se to a 2.0-platform where we can get feedback, comments and answer questions from viewers during live broadcasts. Twitter is an excellent tool for that kind of realtime conversations”, says Axel Humlesjö, Swedish Television. You can follow him on Twitter as @axelhumlesjo.

Tonight’s show investigates how illegally caught African fish is being extracted to omega 3 oil intended for the European market. Sounds like something for you to tweet about? Use the hashtag #granskning or #uppdraggranskning to get into the Twingly Live feed.

Find the live broadcast and Twingly Live linked from Uppdrag Granskning tonight at 20.00.