Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Corporate Culture, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Linguistics, Lobbying, machine intelligence, Politics, Public Affairs and Communications, U.S. Politics

OSINT One. Experts Zero.

Our traditional institutions, leaders, and experts have shown to be incapable of understanding and accounting for the multi – dimensionality and connectivity of systems and events. The rise of the far-right parties in Europe. The disillusionment of European Parliament elections as evidenced by voter turnout in 2009 and 2014 (despite spending more money than ever), the Brexit and now the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America.  In short, there is little reason to trust experts without multiple data streams to contextualize and back up their hypothesis.

How could experts get it wrong? Frankly, it’s time to shift out of the conventional ways that we try to make sense of events in the political, market and business domain. The first variable is reimagining information from a  cognitive linguistic  standpoint. Probably the most neglected area in all of business and politics – at least within the mainstream. The basic idea?  Words have meaning. Meaning generates beliefs. And beliefs create outcomes, which in turn can be quantified. The explosion of mass media, followed by identity driven media, followed by social media, and alternative media. We are at the mercy of media systems that frame our reality. If you doubt this, reference the charts below. Google trends is deadly accurate in illustrating what is on people’s mind the most, bad or good, wins – at least when it comes to U.S. presidential elections. The saying bad press is good press is quantified here. As is George Lakoff’s thinking on framing and repetition (Google search trends can be used to easily see which frame is winning BTW ).

google-search-trends-presidential-candidates-2004-to-present

Google search trends of Democrat and Republican presidential candidates going back from 2004 to 2016. The candidate with the highest search volume won in all political races.

Social media and news mentions of key 2016 presidential candidates. The query used was (

Social media and news mentions of key 2016 presidential candidates per hour within the  query used “Donald Trump” OR “Hillary Clinton” OR hashtags #ElectionDay OR #Election2016.

google-search-trends-nicolas-sarkozy-franc%cc%a7ois-fillon-alain-juppe

Google trends wasn’t caught off guard by François Fillon’s win over Nicolas Sarkozy and Alain Juppé in the French Republican primaries . It was closer than the polls expected all along.

Within this system, there is little reason to challenge one’s beliefs and almost nothing forcing anyone to question their own. Institutions and old media systems used to be able to bottleneck this, they were the only one with a soap box and information was reasonably slow enough. To outthink current systems there is a need for a combination of sharper thinking, being able to quantify unorthodox data such as open source intelligence (OSINT) and creativity that traditional systems of measurement and strategy lack. Business, markets, and people strive, to a fault, for simple, linear and binary solutions or answers. Unfortunately, complex systems i.e. the world we live in doesn’t dashboard into nice simple charts like the one below.  The root causes of issues are ignored, untested, nor contextualized, which creates only superficial understanding on what affects business initiatives.

linear-dashboard

A nice linear BI chart above. Unfortunately, the world is much more complex and connected – like the network graph below, which clusters together new media that covered Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump .

network-graph-of-news-media-about-donald-trump-hillary-clinton

I know this may feel like a reach in terms of how all that is mentioned is connected so more on OSINT, data, framing, information, outcomes, and markets to come.

Cheers, Chandler

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Lobbying, Politics, Public Affairs and Communications, Social Media, U.S. Politics

Breakdown of TTIP and TAFTA

TTIP/TAFTA is a true game changer for both the EU and US in terms of economic value, especially in a time of crisis for the EU.  To find out exactly what content people consumed and analyze policy trends, we mined the web (big data). At the moment TTIP/TAFTA  is not being met without issues – as we all know in Brussels – #NSAGate, data privacy and IP are slowing down negotiations (we’re looking at you France), and this is generally what the data had to say as well.

Over view: 5,505 mentions of  TTIP/TAFTA in the last 100 days – too large of number for business and institutions to ignore. In short you need to join the conversation if you have something to say about it ASAP (indecision is a decision).

Overview of the last 100 days amplitude.

Overview of the last 100 days amplitude.

The biggest uptick – a total of 300 mentions – came when Obama spoke at the G-8 summit in Ireland on June 17th when trade talks began. The key theme at this time was the potential boost in the economy. The official press release is here.

“The London-based Centre for Economic Policy Research estimates a pact – to be known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – could boost the EU economy by 119 billion euros (101.2 billion pounds) a year, and the U.S. economy by 95 billion euros.However, a report commissioned by Germany’s non-profit Bertelsmann Foundation and published on Monday, said the United States may benefit more than Europe. A deal could increase GDP per capita in the United States by 13 percent over the long term but by only 5 percent on average for the European Union, the study found.”

Given that there is conflicting information we wanted to see whose idea and data wins out – the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) or Bertelsmann Foundation (BF)? To do this we looked to see which study was referenced most. The chart below shows the mentions of each organization within the TTIP/TAFTA conversation over the last 100 days. The Center for Economic Policy Research is in orange and the Bertelsmann Foundation is in green.

Research cited most for TAFTA and TTIP

In total both studies were cited almost the same amount:

  • Centre for Economic Policy Research: 80 Mentions
  • Bertelsmann Foundation: 83 mentions
  • Both organizations were mentioned together 53 Times.

More recently though the trend seems to show that the Economic Policy Research is being cited most in the last 30 days, including a large uptick on July 8th. This is mainly due to the market share of the sources being located more in the US and the US wanting to get a deal done faster than the more hesitant Europeans. Keep in mind the CEP claims larger benefits of TAFTA/TTIP than the BF study.

Locations of the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Bertelsmann Foundation. Very diverse and more equal location market share.

Locations of the Center for Economic Policy Research and the Bertelsmann Foundation in the last 30 days: Notice the location marketshare is less diverse and dominated by the USA.

Where are the mentions?

  • The  US had 2,743 mentions (49% overall)
  • All of Europe combined total was 1,986 (36% overall)

Image

Of the topics ACTA is still being talked about with, IP and Data Protection top the list. This is not surprising given France’s reluctance to be agreeable because of the former and #prism, so below are those themes plotted.

Breakdown and trend graph of Topics surrounding TTIP TAFTA

Breakdown and trend graph of Topics surrounding TTIP TAFTA

The top stories on Twitter are in the table below. It’s not surprising that the White House is number one, but where are the EU institutions and media on this?

Top Stories Tweets Retweets All Tweets Impressions
White House 37 15 52 197738
Huff Post  26 0 26 54419
Forbes  23 0 23 1950786
JD Supra 15 2 17 42304
Wilson Center  12 7 19 72424
Facebook 12 0 12 910
Italia Futura 8 0 8 16640
BFNA 7 0 7 40246
Citizen.org 7 13 20 69356
Slate  7 0 7 13927

Everybody knows the battle for hearts and minds of people starts with a good acronym so I broke down the market share between TTIP (165) and TAFTA (2197):

Acronym Market Share: TTIP V TAFTA

I may add more in the coming days but those are a few simple bits of info for now.  Nonetheless if you want to join the conversation on Twitter the top hashtags are below.

Top Hashtags for the TTIP and TAFTA debate

Top Hashtags for the TTIP and TAFTA debate

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, Global Politics, Insights, Linguistics, Lobbying

Your next firm should be an IT firm.

I’ve interviewed with them all. The big firms, the small firms. Both in Brussels and in New York.

After working in the European Commission and Parliament, I wanted to go to the private side of Communications and Policy. The problem? I had been running data and insights. Using terms like NLPSentiment analysis, cognitive science and connotation mapping to describe what I did not work well. On the other hand dumbing down would leave me looking like another 27 year old who does “the social media” and or “the internets”. Most firms doing the interview for analytics positions wanted to hear “pivot table”, “engagement”, “influence” and maybe SPSS. Upping the hierarchy on those terms to explain why “something was” appeared unnecessary and impractical since explaining this to a clients communications director is another task with in itself.

So to hell with the PA/PR firms, I joined an IT firm that also does communications – Intrasoft International, and could not be happier.  The people’s skill sets are well defined and paid, which gives them a certain confidence in contrast. They like things such as analytics and completely understand them. Their only fault is the soft side of Communications – which is now my job to merge.

IT is going to take over communications sooner than later. Current  PR firms will be left scrambling. The lack of investment in the deeper meaning (abstract knowledge such as transference, retention and pragmatics) will start to show as data/connotation mining becomes a standard practice. Most IT firms already have this infrastructure in place via their AI departments.

There will be a point where dropping shit jargon is irrelevant and companies Comm Director, who should be more of a CIO/CTO in the nearer future, will see right though it.

My 2 cents. Also check out my presentation at chandlerthomas.com

CT

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Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Lobbying, Politics, Public Affairs and Communications, Social Media

European Parliament Leadership: Channel Marketshare


While it’s trendy for public affairs professionals talk about social media, Twitter and Blogs, it’s naïve to think these are the main channels for engagement when it come to European Parliament Party leadership. Online mainstream news simply dominates in comparison.  It sets the tone of the issue, gets the most comments, and is shared ,“Liked” and Voted on the most.

Diving back into market shares and what leader controls each medium. The chart above shows  just how dominate Martin Schulz (at the time leader of the S&D at the European Parliament. Schulz has now replaced Jerzey Buzek as it’s President) was in December. MS controlled just about every medium, as well as has the most comments.

Starting from the right we see Mainstream News percentages and how each leader stacks up:

  • Martin Schulz (MS)  63%,
  • Guy Verhofstadt (GV) 25%
  • Joseph Daul (JD) 12%

On the second box from the left “MS ind MS” shows the market share of the medium/channel, in this case mainstream, is being use by the Party Leader. Mainstream news made up 61% of Martin Schulz’s online media. Comparatively GV is at 44% and JD is 35%. In all cases main stream on-line news provides the most media and comments for all leaders. Over the past six months I’ve seen a rise in Twitter, which is by far the most equal platform, and also JD’s 2nd highest individual medium.

We can conclude two things from the prior chart:

  • MS is winning the online battle for media and engagement. He owns 94% of comments leaving only 4% to GV, and 3% to JD.
  • JD severely under performs given the EPP’s size and amount of money they have.

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Brussels, European Parliament, European Union, Lobbying, Public Affairs and Communications

The EU

Unfortunately the high cost of doing business – taxes, labour laws and questionable professional standards across all member states, threatens to marginalizes the EU between Asia and the US.

USA= Innovation, quick to adapt, dynamic work force, large integrated market.

Asia = Cheap labour, willingness to adapt, on the up and up.

The main issue is hesitation to adopt any new methods. In a knowledge economy such as the EU, liquidity of knowledge is a huge asset. None the less, as we see from the data debate, there are only worries and fears, no positives. This is partly Google and Facebook’s fault for not controlling the debate better, although with the cultural differences, I’m not sure it matters.

What ever side of the debate you are on, there is no way the Commission/Parliament will be able to regulate at the speed that such companies innovate and develop new technologies.

I liken it to a scenario:

Jose is trying to learn how to get a date. He decided to go to  a conference at a hotel that explains how to do this.  On his way to the room where the conference was being held, Jose encounters two doors.  One  leads to the conference  on how to pick up a date. The other door has a  sign that says “Successful single women’s conference. Please join us for a drink.  Anyone is welcome”.  Jose chooses the first door as he had planned, and continued learning and taking notes about how to get a date. The EU relationship with Technology is a lot like Jose’s approach to picking up a date, hesitant and unwilling to adapt in real-time, to the peril of the end goal.

In October I was giving a presentation about on-line media, trend, and sentiment analysis/monitoring to  institution officials. During the presentation I was  asked  “why do we need to understand what people are saying about us?” Admittedly  I was a bit shocked.  Interest in the EU has gone down every year since 2004 http://ow.ly/8w2Gs, as well as voting rates.  In my view  a  good place to start building a proper message that mobilizes people, is to  find out how people perceive and talk about you in the first place. Thinking about the institution officials statement further, I concluded the real issue wasn’t that that  online monitoring couldn’t be useful for their goals, but it  would have created a real-time approach, the antithesis of the  institutional process Europe is familiar with.  The incentive wasn’t there either.

In the globalized future hesitation is dead, improvisation is king, and competition will be fierce. Both EU firms and institutions spend too much time discussing what technologies such as social media mean or can do but never act. On the opposite,  competition is the USA led to elections becoming a  science. The 2012 campaigns will feature natural language processing, text mining, sentiment analysis, and data scientists. These technologies will marginalize every medium and word. There will be  no room for “educated guessing”. This is efficient and saves time and money. Further it may help  yield larger voter turnout as did the 2008 U.S. elections.  Forward to the EU. The system is not competitive. The money is provided by the public, and the European Commission  is in charge of getting  people to vote with a neutral message. And they are still having conferences  about what social media means.The future will embrace adaptability and change, you don’t get the luxury of writing a 10,000 word strategy paper, or a controlled institutional process, life and business  move too fast.  If the EU  is going to have a chance using technology to it’s full advantage , it must first take a shot, and ask it out on a date.

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Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Insights, Lobbying, Public Affairs and Communications

EU Political On-line Trend Graph From the 2011 Summer

I thought that I would post a trend chart that I found. It is from the 2011 summer of rebellion. Please ask questions:

 

 

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