Gratulerer med dagen! This greeting is used by Norwegians on 17 May, the day the constitution was signed in 1814 and that is celebrated annually. Thousands of people flock to the streets to watch parades, listen to music performances, eat ice cream, and generally have a good time with their families.
Organising such an event poses challenges for a municipality. Overseeing security means keeping an eye on potential threats and always being prepared to coordinate a response. At the same time, the public need to be informed of anything that might be important to them. Social media is an important tool for communicating to the public: In a region of about 300,000 people, the Agder police Twitter account has over 40,000 followers.
Against this backdrop, we analysed the social media communication surrounding the event and presented the results to municipality staff, including crisis manager Sigurd Paulsen and members of the police force. Before the event, we decided together which aspects of the communication to examine. Afterwards, we discussed the findings and questions such as: What did they find the most surprising? Had they already been aware of the discussions and topics we found? How will they change the way they communicate on social media as a consequence?
Our visit to Kristiansand also allowed us the opportunity to visit the University of Agder, another project participant, to discuss our current research and present recent results. We have had a productive research collaboration with members of the Information Systems department for several years now and it is always a pleasure to meet them in person.
In summary, while the last visit to Kristiansand focused on finding out how social media is already used by the municipality, this one focused on showcasing some of the potentials of social media analytics for a real-life event that is of high relevance to the city.