A Look Back at I/ITSEC 2017 on Twitter

A Look Back at I/ITSEC 2017 on Twitter

As the Conference Committee and Subcommittees begin the arduous task of reviewing submissions for the 2018 conference, let’s take a look back and see what caught the attention of the I/ITSEC community on Twitter last year!

The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is the world’s largest modeling, simulation, and training conference. I/ITSEC, organized by the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA), consists of peer-reviewed paper presentations, tutorials, special events, professional workshops, a commercial exhibit hall, a serious games competition, and STEM events for teachers and secondary students. The 51st annual conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida November 27 – 30, 2017.

As with most events these days, there was a simultaneous event occurring on Twitter as attendees, exhibitors, and presenters tweeted about happenings on the show floor and in the tutorial and paper sessions. As the I/ITSEC team begins planning for 2018, let’s take a look back at the 2017 event to see what topics generated the most conversation.

Using Scraawl (www.scraawl.com), we collected all tweets mentioning #IITSEC from Friday November 24th through Monday December 4th to capture conversations leading up to the event, during the event itself, 4,403 total tweets were collected. You can view the public report here.

The timeline of activity clearly mirrors the schedule of events:

Day Activities Number of Tweets collected
Pre-Conference Gearing up for the big event 144
Day 1
Monday November 27
Tutorials, Congressional session, and exhibit floor opens 762
Day 2
Tuesday November 28
Opening ceremonies, exhibit floor open, special events, and paper sessions 1,194
Day 3
Wednesday November 29
Exhibit floor open, special events, and paper sessions 1,181
Day 4
Thursday November 30
Exhibit floor open, special events, paper sessions, and the awards banquet 656
Post-Conference Friday workshops and post-conference reflections 466

IITSEC 2017 Timeline

The Tweets collected represent a complex conversation involving interactions between different users and hashtags. The Social Graph below was constructed in Scraawl by connecting all the entities that interacted through mentions, retweets, and hashtag uses. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, Scraawl provides a host of statistics and analytics to help us make sense of the data.

IITSEC-2017-Social-GraphFirst, let’s take a look at the event as a whole. The international participation at I/ITSEC is reflected in Scraawl’s map of the 2,698 geo-profiled tweets (tweets in which the user’s Twitter profile includes a geographic location).

IITSEC 2017 Location MapScraawl’s Basic Statistics dashboard provides a summary of top users, top words, top hashtags, top mentions, top URLs, top Retweets, and top languages. It’s not surprising that @iitsec, #iitsec, training, big defense companies like Boeing and CAE, and the US Navy top the charts.

IITSEC 2017 Basic StatsI/ITSEC is a big event with a lot going on, so it’s easier to look at the data in segments to gain a better understanding of the trends in the conversations. We divided the dataset into six separate reports to look at the conversations from each day.

Top Lists

The Top Users rankings shift from day to day, but media entities like @miltech1, @avtrngeditor, and @shephardnews keep active throughout the week. @usnavy, @usarmy, @tradoc, and @adl_initiative represent the government voice in the conversation. Big defense contractors like @cae_defence and @boeingdefense also have a clear presence. Serious Games @sgschallenge makes an appearance as a mention on the day of the award ceremony. Throughout the week, I/ITSEC attendees @dianateel and @drjenmurphy cut their way through the news and marketing chatter.





Training remains a Top Word throughout the week clearly showing that I/ITSEC conversations are in line with the conference theme, but other words clearly reflect highlights throughout the week.

  • Gen Perkins makes the list on Tuesday as many retweet @iitsec’s tweet about the opening keynote
  • VNO Moran makes the list on Wednesday representing the Navy
  • Game and Award top the list on Thursday as the Twitter conversation is dominated by tweets about the various winners of the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge

Top Hashtags are primarily dominated by #iitsec, #iitsec17, #iitsec2017, and #training.  #boeingglobalservices make a daily appearance, reflecting their strong social media campaign for the week.

I/ITSEC Imagery

People say that a picture is worth a thousand words – maybe that’s why so many people include images to supplement their brief Tweets. The Media Gallery in Scraawl’s Advanced Analytics provides a visual summary of the trends at I/ITSEC.

  • Monday’s top image was associated with Raytheon’s promotion of their virtual training technology.
  • Tuesday’s top image was the DAQRI headset, an alternative to Hololens
  • Wednesday’s image is from VCNO Moran’s discussion of transforming US Navy training
  • Thursday’s top image is Boeing’s public toast to a great I/ITSEC

Communities within I/ITSEC

As conversations take place, certain groups of users interact more with each other than with other users – they become a community within the larger conversation. Scraawl makes it easy to examine these communities.

On Monday, the largest community was defined primarily by @dianateel and @drjenmurphy as they heavily tweeted #iitsec and vied for the coveted position of Top User.

A community developed Thursday around discussion of the winners of the Serious Games Showcase and Challenge.

Top influential users at I/ITSEC

When analyzing social media conversations, it is important to not only consider the number of tweets a user has (as reflected in the Top User list) but also the user’s connections to other users and hashtags through mentions and retweets.  Together these factors impact the user’s influence in the overall conversation. On Monday and Tuesday, @iitsec held the spot for top influence with its live conference updates and the many retweets from attendees. By Wednesday and Thursday, @usnavy and @boeingdefense moved up in the ranks with their huge follower base who retweeted and mentioned them throughout the conference.

Monday Tuesday
Wednesday Thursday

Hot Topics at I/ITSEC

Scraawl’s Topic Modeling analytic uses a probabilistic model to discover patterns of word use within and across tweets, and then uses this to infer abstract concepts of discussion.

Day Topics  
Monday Opening of the exhibit floor prompts general conversations about simulation technology and exhibit displays.

Retweets of Boeing’s message form a strong topic:  #BoeingGlobalServices is defining the future of military readiness at #IITSEC17

Tuesday Operation Blended Warrior is a hot topic of discussion

Gen Perkins’ keynote echoes the I/ITSEC theme – Harnessing New Technologies to Win in a Complex World

Wednesday ADM Moran challenges the community to build a bigger and more sophisticated #USNavy

Virtual training solutions are highlighted

Thursday As the show draws to a close, participants are promoting their products, but also reflecting on the events of the week

Analysis of the conversations on Twitter help us to not only understand WHAT people were talking about at I/ITSEC, but also WHO was talking and having the greatest influence on the rest of the community.

Explore the public report yourself to dig deeper. Use Scraawl’s powerful analytics to analyze your organization’s presence and influence, conversation around a particular topic, trending topics, sentiment around a topic, and more!

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