How Twitter was used during ACE13 and the Canadian Water Summit
Last month, I participated in two highly-anticipated Water industry conferences. On June 10th to 12th I went to Denver for ACE13 to have conversations with over 30 Water technology companies. On June 27th I was at the Canadian Water Summit in Calgary where I was speaking in the Cities & Water panel about the role of actionable information in driving innovation and collaboration in the Water industry.
This is now my 2nd year going to Water Industry conferences and one of the most interesting changes I noticed was the increase in twitter use compared to last year. Flat screen TVs were showing real-time twitter feeds for the conferences’ twitter hashtags (#ACE13 for ACE13 and #WaterSummit for the Canadian Water Summit). In some cases, new tweets were popping up within a few seconds. Conference organizers were making announcements to encourage the use of each conference’s twitter hashtags.
This intrigued me enough to look into further. I used a social media tool called peoplebrowsr.com to analyze data on tweets during both ACE13 and the Canadian Water Summit.
Here’s what I found:
A total of 1,203 tweets were sent using the conference’s #ACE13 hashtag that week.
Monday June 10th seemed to be the most popular day. The number of retweets followed a similar trend.
This may be because most people arrived on Monday, and started to leave on Tuesday. The conference ended on Wednesday the 12th, and it looks like the discussions continued on twitter even after the conference. However, an interesting stat is that Tuesday June 11th, the second day of the conference actually had the most positive sentiments. This metric is derived by analyzing the text of the tweets and can give clues into how people feel about being at the conference and their interactions with fellow attendees.
I think there could be a number of reasons for this. On Monday June 10th most of the tweets were very informative, with exhibitors encouraging attendees to visit their booths and describing some of the sessions.
— AWWA (@AWWAACE) June 10, 2013
— TrojanUV (@trojanuv) June 10, 2013
— Pure Technologies (@PTLNews) June 10, 2013
However, on the second day, Tuesday June 11th, companies were announcing awards, several sessions were focused on new, exciting ideas for the Water Industry, and attendees were beginning to enjoy the booths set up by the exhibitors.
Having said that, perhaps the Monday evening festivities were the real reason that got many attendees in a great mood for Tuesday! I think the tweets were really helpful because I couldn’t go to every session or be part of every discussion at ACE13. However, there were a lot of really interesting insights that were shared on twitter.
A couple that I found really interesting:
Debra Coy observed how Water utilities are increasing looking at data, software, and IT systems to increase efficiency.
Denver Water is increasingly looking at mobile technologies to engage with their customers.
— Daniel J. (@DanielOceanSF) June 11, 2013
I then analyzed the data on tweets from the Canadian Water Summit which was a one-day conference. The first thing that surprised me was that even though the Canadian Water Summit had 150-200 people in attendance (my estimate as an attendee), which is a fraction of the over 11,000 attendees at ACE13, the Canadian Water Summit had more tweets during the conference (over 400 tweets per day) than any of the days at ACE13.
I think this is largely to do with how Anthony Watanabe and his team designed the conference to inspire more collaboration in the Water industry. The sessions were very engaging, and the audience tweeted and retweeted dozens of sound bites from the speakers.
Some really interesting insights shared on twitter from the Canadian Water Summit:
COSIA, an alliance of oil sands producers will have shared $1B of technologies with each other to improve environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands.
— Alberta WaterPortal (@WaterPortal) June 27, 2013
Anna Warwick Sears gave a really inspiring talk on how we can be smarter about water management to make water shortages optional
— Brian Mergelas (@BrianMergelas) June 27, 2013
There was also a discussion around how our greatest water challenges are social, not scientific.
— CanadianWaterSummit (@CdnWaterSummit) June 27, 2013
It was great to see some of the discussions evolving in real-time on Twitter as new ideas were presented at these Water conferences. For industry thought leaders and innovators, it is ideal because they are becoming more accessible to an increasingly larger audience that is concerned about Water challenges. Hopefully we will continue to see more insightful tweets coming out of these Water conferences!
Ahmed Badruddin is the CEO of WatrHub Inc., an intelligence platform for the Water Industry that helps water and wastewater technology companies find timely and actionable sales leads, and connects water and wastewater operators with their peers to share best practices.