Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament, European Union, Global Politics, Insights, Politics, Social Media

A Quick look at 20,000 Tweets about the EU

From October 25 -> December 4th there were 20,022 Tweets Containing the words European Union, European Parliament and European Commission. This means tweets were quite specific and could not be mistaken for anything else, further of course the majority of posts were in English, although more than 30 languages were represented. Many of the quick findings reinforce numerous Social Network Analysis studies which show that most network opinions and frames are controlled by a minority of people – between 10-20% i.e.  elite level. Social media, despite a lot of hype, has not changed this.


The context surrounding these 20K Tweets

  • Were produced by 13,832 accounts
  • Retweets made up 28% of all Tweets
  • The Top 18 Tweets – in terms of most retweeted, made up 9% of all tweets
  • Top 18 Tweets that made up 9% of all tweets were made by 11 accounts
  • The most visible and retweeted Tweet was a coalition with FC Barcelona (below) – ( This leaves me to question why are there not more collaborations between the public and private sector in the EU?)


Top Accounts from Top 18 Tweets:

  • Wikileaks – 6 Tweets in Top 18 (33%)
  • Economist – 2 tweets in top 18 (11%)

Top Users commenting on the Euro. UKIP is seems to be taking a proactive approach to framing it’s primary fodder against the EU (the Euro Crisis).

  • @UKIP 32
  • @YanniKouts 23
  • @lindayueh 18
  • @AssangeC 9
  • @LSEpublicevents 8
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


Analytics and Insights, Brussels, Data Science, European Parliament

German EPP MEP Disconnect

Regional online media engagement  for  German and French EPP MEP’s:  The chart clearly illustrates Germany is not engaged with their European Parliament representation, or better, the MEPs are clearly not in touch with their constituents. Can someone say democratic deficit?

•64% of German EPP MEP media is coming from Germany.
•84% of commented media on German MEP’s is from France.
•Germany only accounts for only 10% of comments of  it’s MEPs.
•Germany  does not comment on  French EPP MEPs (0%).
•French EPP MEP comments are from the USA and France (both 48%) and Belgium at 2%.
Analytics and Insights, Data Science, Insights, Public Affairs and Communications

Active Communications

The idea of “Active Communications”  is based heavily on media monitoring listening data AND proper framing, which is a bit of an art (unless you have first class AI/NPL skills) . To work efficiently, a multi-channel infrastructure that allows for real-time content is paramount.

Important concepts to take away:

  • Timing and message coherency, to create a critical mass.
  • Trust the data for real time decision making.
  • Location based targeting with Fundamental,Technical and Sentiment analysis, per channel/medium.

Perhaps the biggest aspect is willingness to abandon prior methods after the data is received. You might be more comfortable with Twitter or another channel, but for the specific campaign it could be a  waste of time. Don’t fight up stream.

Data Science, Public Affairs and Communications, Uncategorized

NLP: Value Greater than just Positive and Negative Sentiment.

Positive (P) and negative (N) sentiment are just transmitting two results based on many other variables. This in itself contains little knowledge. For creating strategy, it can only bench mark after the fact.

Inherently the use of data is to make better decisions for the future. Production is expensive and time consuming. So is deductive reasoning.  The main goals should be to move away from adjusting to the end reaction and migrate to a predictive model. Look at the context in higher resolution i.e. control for  variables which lead to PN sentiment.

Here are some suggestions

  • Time of day
  • Medium (Twitter,Facebook ,Blogs, Mainstream news)
  • Comments PN sentiment
  • New dissemination to comment count (time, PN)

If you are advanced, use NLP tools that allow for custom taxonomies – within the NLP,  to create rules on varibels like types of framing. On a medium level this is very good at prediction, but more on that later.


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

Heuristics, Algorithms and Communications: Quick Thoughts

The use of heuristic and taxonomy algorithms for identifying cognitive bias in  communications is a game changer.  According to SAS,  companies that invest in analytics out perform the S&P500 by 64%. I imagine the margin for communication/marketing firms is greater. The market is not anywhere close to mature, and is lopsided to a few in the know. The rest toil in mediocracy via old connections/business that will surely run ground soon.
Today’s great business’s – for the most part, are data driven. Communications is perceived  to be educated guessing.. The use of programming for bias is important because bias cannot be out run. Think of this much like “Inception” and Moneyball combined.

Thanks to social networks we have the largest focus group in history. Analysts can see what people are using to explain how they feel and think – during  specific situations or events. This can also tell  how people interact within context of syntax or an instances. Very powerful and cheap information in contrast to polling or focus groups.

There are patterns/norms with how people engage on each medium. In addition to what type of syntax they use to convey a certain type of  thought. This is all programmed in the mind for the most part. Linguist like Lakoff and Chomsky suggest that brains are hard wired to favor certain patterns that convey meaning. This plays out accurately on-line consistently.

Just a random Sunday thought…Now looking forward to watching the NFL playoffs.