Social Media Analysis in Norfolk Takes on the NATO Summit
The NATO Summit in Chicago, Illinois formally kicked off Sunday afternoon 20 May, but already early morning on Saturday the Alliance's Secretary General spoke to the participants at the NATO "Youth Summit".
And simultaneously in Norfolk, Virginia, the first Allied Command Transformation Social Media experiment began final execution.
A team of 10 student interns from Old Dominion University in Norfolk supporting staff from the ACT Strategic Communications Capability Development and Operational Experimentation teams launched their analysis efforts on all things related to the NATO Summit that could be found via Social Media.
Using sophisticated Social Media analysis tools (Radian 6, Sysomos, and Lithium) and freeware (SocialMention, Twendz), the social media atmosphere was gauged for spikes on Summit topics – Afghanistan, Smart Defence, Partnerships – before, during and after the Secretary General's speech. The data was then compiled into a report for NATO senior leadership.
The compilation of data analysis from the first NATO Summit day, focused on Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's speech and following question and answer session with the Young Atlanticists, was configured into a concise two-page report outlining the outcomes and trends found via Social Media. The data showed that there was an increased activity on Smart Defence during the speech, leading analysts to believe this topic was more likely to be discussed in all Social Media channels. In addition, while the topic of protesters made news leading up to the NATO Summit in Chicago, the Secretary General's speech to the Young Atlanticists overshadowed the early protester buzz and conversations online were dominated by NATO news thereafter.
The full analysis report was delivered to senior leadership, Public Diplomacy Division (PDD), International Military Staff (IMS), and the Secretary General's staff by ACT Strategic Communications liaisons in Chicago.
This process was repeated on Sunday, 20 May, for the Secretary General's early evening news conference – resulting in new data to bring forward to NATO senior leadership in Chicago. Analyst teams planned to use the same process to prepare for the Summit closing speeches and News Conference on Monday, 21 May.
The goal of the ACT Strategic Communications' experiment is to help improve NATO's ability to engage and communicate. For the first time, viewers could also watch the NATO Summit events on network / cable television and on the web-based NATO TV.
This experiment will also feed into the Joint Analysis Lessons Learned Centre study on Social Media that is just beginning for NATO Headquarters' Public Diplomacy Division.
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