Supersonic 2011 Word Cloud

Having captured the Supersonic Festival 2011 hashtag over the weekend I’m spending a few days seeing what it can tell Capsule about how their audience reacted to the event at the time. That’s the key thing. A report or review is tempered by the blurring of memory. Early reactions can be smothered by later experiences. What the Tweets give us is an approximation of what people were saying to their mates when it happened.

To start with I used the trusty Wordle service to build a word cloud for the tweets posted during the festival.

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Word clouds are, on their own, of limited use since a lot of the useful data is obscured, but they do give a nice snapshot. They also need a fair amount of prep. For this one I excluded a few non-audience, promotional accounts (God bless you Eastside Projects but your frantic livetweeting of Velzuvial had to go) and connected up the multi-word band names. Now we can use this as a guide.

I’m particularly intrigued by “like” being so prominent. At first I thought this was people saying “I like this” or similar but I suspect there’s also being used for comparisons. So and so is “like” this other band. It might be interesting to use this to build a second-degree festival made up of performers the audience saw echoed by those on stage.

But, of course, it’s also essential to accurately quantify this information. What’s the sample? How many people pushed Wolves in the Throne Room that high? Does it really tell us anything?

I should say I am by no stretch of the imagination a statistician and you should also consult one before making a serious investment based on this kind of data. But as a quick and easy snapshot it can help inform your hunches and feelings about how your event went.