All articles by Victoria Gray

Social networks are getting less graphically diverse: why?

All the same: how graphical diversity disappeared from social media

What Starbucks and Whole Foods did for hip neighborhoods, and Ikea did for city apartments, seems to now be happening on social media. As platforms ‘borrow’ functionality and looks from each other and converge towards design choices promoting ease of use and engagement, graphical diversity among different platforms is steadily decreasing. Here’s just a few examples: The proliferation of a “stories” tab displaying a sequence of circular profile pictures  across Facebook properties (Instagram, Messenger, Facebook app, Whatsapp…) as well as Snapchat The circular profile picture itself, now ubiquitous across FB, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and Apple products Within the circular profile pictures, green ‘active’ status (FB, LinkedIn) Twitter adopting the heart-shaped ‘like’ button in lieu of the ‘favorite’ star...

Read more →

Twitter Passion Report: how the Cook for Syria campaign provides foodies for thought

Twitter Passion Network foodies

We’ve been running a series based on our research work with Twitter, uncovering a set of passion communities on the platform using analysis of 800,000 randomly selected users. We found that those who identified with these passions do not make up monolithic audiences, but gather into a series of sub-communities. Each of these have a very specific cultural footprint, clustered around geographic, ethnic or interest affinities. This month, we’re taking a closer look at the community whose main passion is identified as food. The important thing to learn here is that the network of people who identify as liking ‘food’ is too wide a term to categorize as one interest – while they all exist under an umbrella of liking...

Read more →

On-demand webinar: bullet-proofing your new business pitch with data-driven insights

Bullet-proofing your new business pitch with data-driven insights

Putting together the right pitch to win new business can be like mixing up the ingredients for a perfect cocktail: you need to know your audience and whether they’ll like the ingredients you’re including, you need to time your execution perfectly, and you need to shake it up so that people are blown away by something they thought they knew. We recently ran a webinar discussing how you can use data-driven insights to win a new business pitch. Following a major study of how global agencies extract insights from data to create strategies, we identified an important workflow of using social data analysis to uncover the insights you need to stand out from the crowd.  This empowers agency clients win new pitches by demonstrating an understanding of both the big picture...

Read more →

New on Pulsar: TRENDS is here!


We’ve just launched our latest product: Pulsar TRENDS. This tool lets users map real-time and historical trends instantly with access to 12 years worth of public data, from the very first Tweet back in March 2006 to today.   Just like search engines opened up the web and made it explorable, we designed Pulsar TRENDS to be the easiest and fastest way to explore the world of social media.   We’ve been working for years with thousands of planners, analysts and researchers to help them find the story in the data. One of the key things we realised was missing from the market is a tool that supports quick iteration, which is essential when using data for creative thinking.  ...

Read more →

Twitter Passion Report: How the Hard Rock Cafe could take some music lessons from Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn with grime music star JME

What has the Labour Party got in common with Tanqueray? From #Grime4Corbyn to Gin and Juice, their messages are creating the right notes with music fans.   We’ve been running a series based on our work with Twitter, uncovering a set of passion communities on the platform using analysis of 800,000 randomly selected users.   The research found that those who identified with these passions do not make up monolithic audiences, but gather into a series of sub-communities, each with a very specific cultural footprint clustered around geographic, ethnic or interest affinities. This week, we’re taking a closer look at the community whose main passion is identified as music. [Zoom in to take a close look: Here’s a visual representation of...

Read more →

On-demand webinar: use social data for bullet-proof marketing campaigns

Webinar on Converse sneakers and setting up search for bullet proof marketing campaigns

We recently ran a webinar taking you through how to set up and use social data to make your marketing campaigns bullet-proof. Finding insights in social media can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but using some of the techniques detailed – and a sleek sneaker-based case study – we showed how you can create a funnel to get the general and the specific insights that you need to inform your next campaign strategy. If you missed the webinar, the video is available to watch below – a few key takeaways included: Think like a researcher – use a hypothesis-led approach Searching social data for generic terms and hoping that it will answer your questions can be like...

Read more →

Art, politics and data meet as Pulsar data stars in a new Design Museum exhibition

The Hope To Nope Exhibition at the London Design Museum with data portraits from Pulsar platform

The ecosystem of the social web is heavily woven with images and, as a new exhibition at the Design Museum in London’s Kensington created in partnership with Pulsar proves, these images are now becoming more important than ever in politics.   Movements can change almost overnight thanks to a single photograph, people are expressing their personal politics through memes rather than manifestos, and imagery also heavily contributes to how we perceive today’s political class.   To that end, Pulsar data is currently being displayed in the Design Museum exhibition Hope to Nope. And as it shows, it’s never been a more divisive time to be in the public eye; as imagery and data merge to open up a new way of examining our...

Read more →

People hate platform updates and redesigns. Or do they secretly love them?


Earlier in February, Snapchat changed its design, and users hated it. A million people signed a petition to roll back those changes. Even minor tweaks to any social network: from Twitter to Facebook and Instagram, and beyond, prompts discussion and often instant dislike. But either days, weeks, or months later, users get over it and apps see their usage go up The platform updates fade into the background and becomes the norm, as apps see their design choices validated with usage growth. So why the outcry? Is it just human nature to overreact to change, or does this tell us more about our overdependence on social media than we’d like to admit? We looked into some cases of social...

Read more →

The troll’s ugly coming of age

Toy trolls to represent the childhood fairytale that has now become an online nightmare

During the web’s infancy in the 1980s, trolls emerged as tricksters. They were annoying, usually anonymous, mischievous, confusing, and full of counter-cultural significance, mirroring the quirks of the nerds that had created the web. This idea of the troll has not aged well, argues Pulsar research director Jay Owens, and is in dire need of a major cultural update. Researchers and specialized journalists have been chronicling this change for years, but two meanings of the word continue to be conflated in the public’s imagination. From an excellent 2013 history of trolling on the Daily Dot by Mercer University assistant professor of writing Whitney Phillips: “Back then, the term “trolling” first referred to disruptive or otherwise annoying speech and behavior online. These...

Read more →

Subway pulse: what people are saying (and doing) underground in 5 major cities


If you want to know a city, spend some time on the subway. You’ll be sure to overhear some interesting conversations. The systems that move us around are part of what shape the culture of the cities themselves. The public spaces that are shared between hundreds of people of different ages, classes and backgrounds, as well as visitors to a city trying to get around, creating the framework for hundreds of tiny stories about systems, authority and change in that city. We took a look at what people were saying on Twitter about the subway system in five different global cities around the world for a week at the end of January 2018 using Pulsar TRAC. Here’s what we learned....

Read more →