Social Data in Academic Research

Sherry Emery, Abe Kazemzadeh and Jaime Settle discuss the role of social data in their academic research. For more background on this topic, check out our blog interviews with Sherry Emery and Jaime Settle

Sherry Emery, Abe Kazemzadeh, Jaime Settle, Paul Smalera at Big Boulder

The volume of social data being captured is just begging to be studied, but funding and grant issues, lack of standardized protocols about research projects using this fluid (and sometimes deletable) data set, lack of curricula for data science and social science purposes, and different timelines facing academics and the companies collecting the data are some of the problems currently facing academia. Research labs hope to bridge these gaps through partnerships with social data companies.

Smokin’ Cigarettes, Smokin’ BBQ, Smokin’ Hot Girls
Capturing the whole conversation about smoking on a social media channel for a research project proved difficult, Sherry says. One of the challenges is selecting the right keywords. But as she learned, in a project, there were approximately 70 million Tweets that contained the keyword “smoking.” But as the team used a software to categorize the large volume of Tweets, they learned only a third were about smoking tobacco, her topic of study. Other categories included smoking marijuana to smoking ribs to “smoking hot girls.” Studying the smoking Tweets also revealed an interesting sentiment: people who tweeted about smoking tobacco cigarettes felt ashamed while those who tweeted about smoking pot felt proud.

How Academics Use Social Data vs How Companies Use Social Data
Academics have the luxury of time studying social data, but not the luxury of a time machine. Researchers are chasing a more historical perspective of the data, but unless they are aware of and can anticipate the keywords and events that matter, their pursuit could be snuffed out. It’s a double-edge sword. Social data is streaming, which means academics can’t and don’t always anticipate the necessary keywords to pull in data early enough to fully capture an event and behaviors they want to study. For example: Sherry’s team serendipitously captured Tweets about a proposed ballot in California to increase the price of cigarettes, but the majority of Tweets didn’t contain the usual smoking keywords of “cigarettes” and “smoking” and “tobacco.” By the time the researchers realized this, they had already missed a large portion of the social data. Popular opinion, Sherry says, changed dramatically between the three months before the vote and in the voting period.

Social Media Companies + Academia = Match Made in Data Nerd Heaven
Jaime says that because the nature of social data and its tools are forward looking, they are not designed to get data retroactively or historically. Perhaps this is an opportunity for academia and social media companies to partner and rely on each other as resources. There is a need for curricula for university students so they can be employed at social companies as well as become social scientists, and social companies can influence what needs to be taught in such curricula in higher ed. This is a gap, and partnerships need to be forged between these two groups in order for the full potential for social data to be explored as the demand to understand it grows. Social companies have their own set of data and social data teams that are internal to their needs and goals to success as business. Academics see potential and overlap in goals in the very same data that these companies are collecting about users which could reveal insights to human behaviors.

Abe explains the pros and cons doing research for companies (but says the benefits outweigh the cons).

Pros:
Variety of funding from government grants
Interesting problems companies are facing
College students get an opportunity to work on cool research projects for real world problems
Cons:
Sense of urgency
Funding is on a subscription format; if company has a bad year, they cancel their subscription to research lab services

Looking Ahead
Funding seemed to be an overall challenge to academics looking to study social data. Challenges also include the ethical implications of using such a fluid data set on subjects who may not understand they are being studied. There needs to be a standardized protocol of the study, reporting and managing of social data — respecting the data and the subject being researched. The current situation is vulnerable to possible scandal in the case of an invasion of privacy or abuse of data. Institutional review boards need to begin to have a dialogue with researchers (and social media companies?) about best practices for this new niche of research before an egregious case occurs.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Mining Consumer Opinion in Comments

An interview with Daniel Ha and Steve Roy from Disqus on mining opinion in comments. 

Commonly known as a comment system, Disqus facilitates comments from over 2.5 million sites. The team at Disqus, Daniel Ha and Steve Roy, like to think of themselves as a community of other communities. But how do they distinguish themselves?

 Communities and Identity

Any discussion that happens on Disqus, by its nature is its own community. Disqus found that the majority of users’ time was spent below the fold, in the comments. Part of what fuels this is the ability to act under a pseudonym. Disqus maintains that by embracing a pseudonym, people can act as their “real” self. They find that people who embrace a pseudonym reveal a more passionate interest than they normally would. It gives people a voice they wouldn’t typically be able to use, enabling a user to pursue things that mainstream media may not be covering, or to be part of a community they couldn’t otherwise.

Brands

Brands can tap into Disqus in a couple ways:

  1. On their properties utilizing Disqus: Brands like HP have launched destination websites with Disqus to participate in the conversation naturally happening.
  2. Disqus’ ad product: Brands can pay to have a presence in other websites (like a Tumblr blog) and place their content above the comment feed. The response to this placement of content is higher as well because it’s located where the audience is more engaged.
  3. Learned Insights: Brands can use pattern detection to learn stories about their brands. A great example of this is when there needs to be a product recall, because a lot of this type of discussion takes place in these stories.

Data Learnings

Disqus recently achieved a major milestone, reaching 1 billion monthly unique visitors. Often considered US focused, the majority of their growth in recent months is international. Disqus supports 40+ languages worldwide. Through its many users, Disqus has been able to understand the behavior patterns on their networks and noted 3 things in particular:

  •  Comment Length: The amount of characters can tell a lot about the level of interest in users. Steve says 57% of all comments are essentially the lengths of Tweets (under 140 characters) and not using links.
  • Time of Day: The worldwide pattern for commenting shows a peak in volume at 10 am in every time zone. Not only does this mean more people comment at this time of day, they also engage with other comments and read comments then too.
  • Categories: Disqus buckets their sites into about 45 different types. Each category has various statistics associated with their category as well. For instance, gamer sites average about 10 characters per comment. Religious sites, on the other hand, average closer to 600 characters per comment. As a brand, this is valuable data that can help shape how they engage with users.

Disqus is proud of the use cases of their data too. Several examples were mentioned, like Gooqus, a search engine utilizing both Google custom search and Disqus.This allows a user to not only see the top Google results, but also add a layer of richness, allowing for more sentiment to be derived from the data.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Social Data in China

An Interview with Ken Hu and Mike Smith from Soshio on social data in China. 

To think about social data in China one must first think about size. Chris Moody began the conversation with Ken Hu and Michael Smith from Soshio with a list of staggering statistics on the size of and volume of data in the Asia & Chinese market.

The population of China is 1.3 billion. Of those, 564 million are Internet users (majority of which are mobile). China has 354 million smart phone subscriptions, a number higher than the US.

Social network preferences often mirror existing regional cultural differences and there is not a single preeminent social network in China. Instead, social network of choice is likely to change with the geographic location.

Networks

Users frequently ask Soshio for the Chinese network equivalent of Facebook or Twitter of China, but this inquiry is largely misinformed. The 3 main Chinese networks are Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo and RenRen, which may bear resemblance to popular Western networks, but those interested in social data in China should recognize that most Chinese networks are multi-faceted, often comprised of multiple products or platforms.

To exemplify this fact, Michael discusses the difference between Weibo and Wechat.

Weibo is much like a town square. You provide your news, you provide updates about your brands or products. You are allowed to put in richer content. With the use of characters you are able to provide a richer content (the equivalent of 280 characters). Weibo embeds rich content including audio and video content.

Wechat, a TenCent Weibo product, is a one-to-one communication for mobile. Michael says it is the optimal tool for CRM. Functionality includes voice messaging (walkie talkie style), group chat and Instagram-style picture tools. With more than 300 million users it is a platform watch.

Censorship

Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China and Chinese citizens are very aware of regulation, and they think twice before they share. As with any constraint, users have found channels around censorship. People use homophone- phrases that look or sound like what you are trying to discuss but have not yet been indexed by the dictionary. People also use images to avoid censorship, generating a lot of picture heavy content.

Of important note, when speaking of China, statements exclude the city of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong people do have access to Twitter and Facebook.

Brands and Chinese Social Networks

Most brands are still trying to figure out how to use these platforms best. In the US, social media has evolved to where it is all about sharing creative content. In China, many posts from brands are strict push marketing and hard sells. While this may be true of the majority of brand interaction, brands have found one creative outlet: creating video mini-series for sharing on Weibo.

Soshio advises US marketers to be creative and get to know the market. Of utmost importance: don’t take what has worked in the US on Twitter and try to translate it to Weibo. This misses the point entirely.

 The Data

There are a lot of conversations happening in China that don’t fit the western understanding of social data. It is important to understand your audience and then go find the data because there are a lot of important conversations happening on non-social network platforms.

The social data available on Chinese platforms is a lot richer. You can get gender, location, and users are willing to share that information. Weibo is even able to provide education level.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Tweets, Texts and Tickers

A look at social data in the financial markets with Tom Watson, Vice President of Global Market Data at NYSE Euronext; Brian Hyndman, Senior Vice President of Global Information Services at NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc., Rich Brown, Global Head of Elektron Analytics at Thomson Reuters and Heidi Johnson, Global Product Lead for Hub and Collaboration Services at Markit. 

Financial Social Data Panel

The use of social media data in the finance industry presents some inherent and unique challenges. This panel explored how social data could and should be used on Wall Street.

Leadership Vacuum
There is a great opportunity for leadership in this space, as no one entity is currently driving the charge on how to structure the use, the infrastructure or the verification of social data in financial markets. Firms need to focus on how to get this volume of data from the social channels and to the customers in order to trade and make investment decisions based on that data. Firms are receptive to using social data, but regulatory and compliance oversight make this tricky. Who is to say when information becomes public? Firms are looking for real-time data solutions but must examine this information within the context of historical models. Historical trends put real time data in perspective; both are critical.

Verification
How do firms vett social media accounts as the professional, official individuals and groups? A verification process or Klout-esque score or index is needed in order to confirm that the data from social channels or social sources are reliable, trusted, consistent: Is that the company or individual you think it is? Currently we passively consume this social data, but how can financial firms weed out false positives and anomalies? The nature of social data is that it moves so fast, people and companies react before verification can be made of a trusted source. Fake accounts can and have tanked stocks. Identity verification of expert, trusted sources is crucial. It’s not the first tweet, it’s the conglomerate of the tweets, blog posts, etc., but people often react to the first data they see instead of looking at trends and patterns, as well as the original source. Think snowball, not snowflake. Social amplifies data. Everyone has the ability to reach millions of people now on social media. Data needs to be corroborated with other sources of information.

“Hash Crash”
Earlier this year, the Associated Press Twitter account was hacked and sent out a falsified tweet about a bombing at the White House. The fake news event caused a real market event, dubbed the Hash Crash- a dip (and reversion) in the stock markets. But even from the start, a large proportion of overall Twitter conversation doubted the veracity of that tweet, and traditional news sources showed a different story. This disproved Tweet led to the V-shaped dip and recovery of the markets.

Social Data Examples in Financial Markets

  • Spikes in weather reports and crop prices
  • Violence in Iran and oil prices
  • Sentiment and Psychological index – fear, greed, optimism
  • Geospatial – Florida orange grove region and supply chain data

There is a great need for historical models, real time data analytics, data mining, and verification processes in the financial realm, and firms are receptive to finding these solutions.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Social Data in Brazil

A look at social data in Brazil with Daniel Heise, Co-Founder at Scup, and Gabriel Baños, CEO and Founder at Zauber. For more background on Gabriel, check out our previous interview with him on our blog. 

Daniel Heise and Gabriel Banos

On a global front, social media is exploding. Specifically in Brazil, Facebook has an estimated 5 million active users, Tumblr considers Brazil its second largest market, and other social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn have a huge presence. But Brazil holds a unique position based on its user behavior. With 200 million people, mobile penetration is greater than 100% due to users with multiple devices. The future of Brazil’s social data use is in the hands of it’s users.

Social Behavior

Daniel Heise, Co-Founder at Scup credits Brazilians for its major use of the social network, Orkut.  Owned and operated by Google, Orkut was only recently taken over by Facebook as the most used social network in Brazil. However, there is a bit of taboo around Orkut. As Daniel described, there is a phrase, becoming “Orkutized” meaning, becoming so popular, people will not want to use it. From February 2011 to now, Orkut has lost 96% of its user base, while Facebook has grown 600% in Brazil.

With new and existing social networks becoming more popular in a market of early adopters, there’s a tendency for users to jump from network to network. Gabriel Baños, CEO and Founder of Zauber, compares it to “seeing your parents at a party, so you immediately go to the next party that’s happening.”

There’s also a layer of societal hierarchy that plays into the social behavior in Brazil. For example, Twitter doesn’t have a large presence in the lower classes in Brazil.

Social and Monopolization

There’s a war affecting the social landscape in Brazil as well. Brazil’s major television company, Rede Globo, holds the monopoly when it comes to advertising. Even agencies in Brazil have had to change their models to reflect that of Rede Globo. With the ever-expanding presence of Brazilians on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, Rede Globo has gone head to head to compete for advertising dollars. They’ve even gone so far as to eliminate the consumption of Rede Globo content on these networks.

It’s a huge problem when one network owns the audience, because you have one type of media. And this inhibits innovation with advertising. But, the social networks are taking different approaches to dealing with this monopoly. Twitter, for example is taking the route of wanting to work with Globo when it comes to media, whereas Facebook is confronting them head-on. Either way, brands know they want to be part of the conversation, whether it is through media on television or directly engaging on social media.

Leveraging Social

The agencies and brands have gotten used to the way media fuctions in Brazil, but there are a few who are taking advantage of the social revolution. Beverage companies in particular have the most impact with campaigns on social. They’re looking to social data (not just ads) to enrich their database with information about their consumers. Use cases like the transit in Sao Paolo or the police using social data to predict violence from soccer fans after a match illustrate how valuable this data can be. Because it’s not focused on advertising, it opens up so many other uses of social data.

Social Entrepreneurs in Brazil

Local and native social networking are also affecting social in Brazil. Unfortunately, the copycat culture is popular. While you can respect them for the execution of these applications, this is not a long term play. Thankfully, Brazilian users don’t care who built the platform. The consumer care about the effectiveness of the product.

In the Brazilian entrepreneur space, you are lucky enough to have a large market in your own country, so you’re not forced to go to other markets at the beginning. This is why so many companies are huge in Brazil, but are relatively unknown in the US. A social network may not feel the need to satisfy markets outside of Brazil quite yet.

Mobile Users

The cheapest option for social networking in Brazil has always been mobile. This directly relates to the state of Brazil’s economy. Even though it’s improving, Brazil is still a poor country, and social media can be used to improve the lives of people in a significant way.  It’s giving the majority of people access to basic information and social networks they weren’t able to formerly use. The first computer of a Brazilian is a smartphone because it’s cheaper than a laptop. You’re already seeing companies leverage mobile for content as well.

In 2014 and 2016, Brazil will be on the world stage for the World Cup and Summer Olympics, respectively. It will be intriguing to see how social data will continue to play a role in Brazil during these global events.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Unleashing the Creative Expression of 100 Million People

An interview with Derek Gofffrid and Danielle Strle of Tumblr about the unique experience behind Tumblr and its 100 Million users. 

Derek Gottfried and Danielle Strle at Big Boulder

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is not a social network.

Derek Gottfrid explains that Tumblr is about the content, not relationships and relationship-building. Hence Tumblr is a media network — with a focus on content propelled by user passion for that media.

When broken down the Tumblr platform fills two roles around sharing media: for users to consume and to share. A Tumblr is a channel for a user to post, create and share to the world in an unlimited way. Second, the dashboard is an incredible media consumption tool.

What Makes Tumblr Special?

It is the diverse formats to share the different types of content (photo, video, text, links, quotes, chats, audio) available in one place. With 7 post types, it’s easier to take part in the community because sharing doesn’t mean having to fill a big white text box. Users can select to share photos, videos, quotes or even reblog content. It removes the intimidation many users find in long-form text blogging.

When it comes to the incredibly viral nature of posts on Tumblr, it’s no question their most unique and valuable asset is the reblog.

Derek explains reblogs as a unique, nuanced feature of the platform that encourage users to adopt content as their own. He adds quickly that a reblog is much like clothing. You could make your own clothes, or you could go buy and wear it. Either way, you make it your own when you put it on.

To fully understand the impact of the reblog feature, consider this — 85 to 90% of posts a day on Tumblr are reblogs. The Tumblr team has seen single posts be reblogged 10,000, even 100,000 times in one day.

How Are Brands Utilizing Tumblr?

As advertising and brands on Tumblr celebrate their one-year anniversary, Derek is quick to note that the development of Tumblr was not motivated by creating a space for brands. Instead, the Tumblr team, has taken time and care to figure out the best way brands can contribute to user’s content stream. Successful brands are utilizing the tools available on Tumblr to tell robust stories. The result is brand content that is a thoughtful, mindful addition to the stream of users, which can be adopted by users as their own content.

What Are The Untapped Opportunities Available With Tumblr Data?

There is a huge volume of data provided by Tumblr, yet analytics and understanding of much of it remains unexplored. As Derek explains, the next level deep dive (analytics) on Tumblr is a huge opportunity. To explore and understand the power of reblogs, specifically how they travel through the userbase. Another untapped opportunity is tools to understand the massive volume of data going through the system.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

 

Building the Location Layer of the Internet With Mike Harkey of Foursquare

Mike Harkey, the Head of Platform Business Development at Foursquare, talks about how Foursquare is building the location layer of the Internet. 

Mike Harkey of Foursquare

To kick things off at Big Boulder, Gnip’s VP of Product, Rob Johnson interviewed Mike Harkey. As the Head of Platform Business Development at Foursquare, Mike talked about the evolution of Foursquare during the past four years. First introduced as the “check-in app,” Foursquare is now becoming known for its location recommendation services.

 Merchant Applications

As Mike stated, “the company is growing dramatically.” Foursquare recently received $41 million in funding in April 2013, and that is certainly shaping their growth. From a consumer application, check-ins and active uniques have grown 10% every month. However, Foursquare is really focused on providing real world applications for merchants, whose use has quadrupled in the past 6 months.

Foursquare has always offered a free solution for merchants to claim their business and run offers and specials within the app. Users can also follow merchants to keep an eye on these offers. However, at the end of the day this won’t matter if a merchant can’t see what needle Foursquare is moving for them. Enter merchant dashboards: Through the merchant API, merchants can track the value and success of their media campaigns and how Foursquare is influencing them.

 The Location Layer

Just as Facebook is the social layer of the internet, Foursquare has built the location layer. With 4 billion check-ins and 50 million places worldwide, it’s not hard to see why this data is so valuable and practical. And there’s something that’s fundamentally unique about Foursquare, in their ability to see real-time actions.

Foursquare is the first to find out when a venue opens and closes. This signal is not only beneficial for the application, but also for 3rd party platforms that rely on them. Maintaining the quality of data when it’s user-based is challenging but Foursquare has learned which levers to pull. A community of super users have the rights to edit and update data to help to “vet and validate” its quality. This further fuels the consumer application of Foursquare.

Using the Data

Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City and Tokyo from Foursquare on Vimeo.

Foursquare holds itself to a higher standard with its data. They believe this data is not just theoretical, but has practical, real-world applications. For merchants, this means validating their presence on the app – according to Mike, 20% of users check-in to a place discovered by the recommendation service within 36 hours of discovery.

Since the founding of the company, people have wanted to access the data Foursquare provides. The API has always been open, but Foursquare has wanted to be careful about allowing access to the data. Gnip’s partnership with Foursquare to allow access to its firehose has tremendous possibilities for businesses. Examples include how individual users act during specific events. During Hurrican Sandy, Foursquare released visualizations around how people operated during and after a crisis.

Globally, using this data for good has been a priority for Foursquare. In Turkey, there was activity they didn’t expect during the recent riots. They had representatives on the ground of the riots and could see users posting photos and information as this was the only viable mechanism to expose this information.

The Future of Foursquare

Foursquare believes the applications for this data are virtually limitless, whether it’s making the data available for research or business applications. Foursquare is excited to see what people will build with their anonymized data from its partnership with Gnip. Foursquare has a number of products will be introduced this year. Soon, small businesses will be able to advertise through Foursquare and make the most out of this service. They will have the ability to turn on and off offers and reach long-term consumers.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

The Big Boulder Initiative Launches To Drive The Social Data Industry

Chris Moody, COO of Gnip, kicks off the conference with a talk about the social data ecosystem and introduces the Big Boulder Initiative. 

Chris Moody of Gnip

At the beginning of of Big Boulder, Gnip COO Chris Moody, launched the Big Boulder Initiative — a way for industry leaders “to establish the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry.”

As Chris noted, Big Boulder isn’t just a group of people coming together but the leaders of social data, one of the most important industries to develop in the last two decades. The attendees consume over 4 billion social data activities every day that ultimately serve 95% of the Fortune 500.

Chris asked attendees for the next two days to leave their titles behind and instead to think of themselves as the leaders of the social data industry. And as leaders they all need to think about where social data is going and how to address our collective challenges/

Big Boulder is only two days out of the year, so the Big Boulder initiative will allow the leaders of the industry to come together multiple times a year.

Chris outlined the five questions the industry is facing, and wants to hear what others are thinking as well. The issues were the following:

  • Return – How do we remove any remaining doubt about the value of social data? There are open-ended questions around consistency, bias and measurement that need to be addressed.

  • Trust – How do we build trust and understanding with the most important people in social media, the content creators?

  • Access – We’re only able to analyze a fraction of the public social data that’s out there. How can we get access to more data to improve our products?

  • Sustainability – How do we convince the world to make long-term investments in an industry that is so new?

  • Costs – How do we manage the growing costs to store, index and serve ever-increasing volumes of data?

For those that weren’t able to attend Big Boulder but want to be involved in shaping industry issues, they can learn more at bigboulderinitiative.com.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

A Tourist’s Guide to Boulder

If you’re coming to Big Boulder and have any extra time on your hands, we wanted to put together a list of things to do in Boulder. And don’t forget that we’ll have opportunities to participate in yoga, hiking, runs, and a bicycle pub crawl! Or to sleep in! Whatever is your cup of tea.

Let’s start with some of our favorite restaurants and bars at a bunch of different price points! We’ll be providing breakfast and lunch at the conference!

  • The Kitchens – There’s the affordable Kitchen Next Door, the venerable Kitchen and the let’s grab drinks and apps atmosphere of the Kitchen Upstairs. All brought to you by restauranter and startup guy Kimbal Musk!
  • The Rio - Local chain serving the strongest margaritas in Colorado and one of the best decks in Boulder.
  • Bramble & Hare - Great late night option for food and drink. Also! Boulder is no longer so 2008 and late, and we’ll have late night food trucks happening this summer from 11 pm to 3 am.
  • Bohemian Biergarten – A new venue added to Boulder, this will make you feel like you’re in the old country of Munich.
  • Bitter Bar – Known for their craft cocktails to most, but I love them for their s’mores.
  • Jax – If you were coming to Boulder to try the seafood, this is your joint! Best landlocked seafood you’ll have!
  • Mountain Sun – A local brew pub and Boulder local favorite. Be warned, it’s cash only!
  • Dushanbe Teahouse – The teahouse is a gift from Boulder’s sister city in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and is incredibly beautiful. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Cafe Aion – It’s a walk up to Boulder’s “Hill” but it’s been named one of the top 25 restaurants in Colorado.
  • Tee & Cakes – If you’ve got a sweet tooth Boulder’s only cupcake focused shoppe has some of the most creative and decadent dessert options you’ll find anywhere. You can’t go wrong with the salted bourbon caramel cupcake.

In Colorado, the beer flows like wine! Literally, we brew more beer than any other state. Tour a brewery (or distillery) while you’re in town. If you’re willing to travel to Denver hit us up in the comments, and we’ll drop more recommendations on your behalf.

Colorado has 300 days of sunshine, so you should definitely plan to take advantage of the outdoors.

If you’re looking for something more specific, let us know in the comments and we’ll help you out with recommendations.

Boulder Colorado Mountains

 

Photo courtesy of Gnip CEO Jud Valeski

Big Boulder 2013

Big Boulder’s back for 2013 and better than ever.

The leaders in social data: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Automattic, Disqus and many more are descending on Boulder again this summer to talk about the future of their platforms. Last year was a huge success and the expectations this year are even higher. We have a line-up that will deliver!

Headshots for Big Boulder

We’ll go deep into Asia and Latin America with speakers from China, Brazil and Japan, including the CEO of LINE, one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet. We’ll hear about non-traditional applications of Social Data with discussions on Finance, Government, Academic Research and Data Science. And to help us make sense of it all, we’ll have industry analysts discussing their views of the future. See the agenda and speakers pages for all the details.

In addition to all the great topics covered in the sessions, we’ve left plenty of time for networking with others in Social Data, including sunset cocktails with views of the Flatirons, a bicycle pub crawl, and since this is Boulder after all, morning yoga and hiking.

Big Boulder is an invite-only event for the leaders in the social data ecosystem. Space is filling up quickly so if you’re still thinking about it, sign up now before we hit capacity. Interested in coming but haven’t been invited? First check out our blog post about social data vs. social media. If you’re all about social data, email bre@gnip.com for information.