Technology

Monday Buzz: How Big Is Your Crowd, Really?

By / Jun 1, 2015 (5xinc/ThinkStock)

A new study suggests smartphones could provide a way to gauge crowd size more accurately. Plus: where to look for social updates from the 2015 ASAE Membership, Marketing & Communications Conference.

Ever wonder how large a crowd actually is? A new study published in Royal Society Open Science finds that there may be a direct correlation between mobile data generation and group size, giving event and emergency planners alike a new tool to add to their repertoire.

“We plotted mobile phone calls, Twitter, and SMS activity in the geographical area in which the San Siro [Stadium] is located, and in all three we observed 10 distinct spikes. We found that the dates these spikes occurred coincided exactly with the dates on which the 10 football matches took place in the stadium,” Dr. Tobias Preis, an associate professor of behavioral science and finance at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom, said in a press release.

Based on the data generated by the soccer (or football, if you prefer) fans, Preis and the study’s research team were able to gauge attendance totals that “fell within 13 percent of the true value.”

“The relationship between data on internet usage and match attendance was strongest of all—perhaps because smartphones automatically check services such as email, without the need for the user to actively intervene,” Dr. Suzy Moat, an assistant professor of behavioral science at the university, said in the press release.

Though the team’s research isn’t conclusive, it provides an interesting look into how data being generated by everyday actions, whether it be smartphone activity by attendees or Twitter activity by activists, can be used as a powerful tool for those hosting events or by officials or associations responding after an emergency.

Tweet of the Day

ASAE’s Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference has begun, bringing with it a bounty of new tips, tools, and insights for association professionals. Unable to attend? You can keep track of the conversation online by following the #MMCCon hashtag or the event’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. (And be sure to check out our live event coverage!)

Other Good Reads

How does Google do so well on the web? That’s the question that lies at the center of an intriguing CMS Wire post by New Ideas Engineering founder Miles Kehoe. It has implications for any association thinking about search.

What’s the importance of credentialing? Plexus Consulting Group LLC President Steven M. Worth goes through a crash course on his blog.

If you want to learn how to create a sponsorship that helps all parties involved, read through seven tips Wild Apricot writer Lori Halley picked up from a recent presentation by marketing and fundraising expert Joe Waters.

Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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