The Washington Examiner recently undertook a fascinating experiment in what happens when you overlay a private, mobile social network on top of one of the nation’s top gatherings of conservative thought leaders.

The CPAC 2013 mobile app was designed to give attendees an easy way to access agenda, speaker, and exhibitor information.  But it was also designed to be a professional network – to allow attendees to discuss the issues, interact with the event’s content, and of course, to interact with each other.

From a high level engagement perspective, the experiment was a resounding success.

Across 3,242 active users, there were more than 738,000 taps in the application, resulting in 62,000+ publishing actions (or an average of more than 19 per user).

But even more interesting were the insights that came from the data – insights that perhaps shed a little light on the current thinking of a cross section of thought leaders from the Republican Party.


Beyond the subjective commentary posted in the app by attendees of the event, every tap of the CPAC 2013 application can be considered a signal as to the intentions and preferences of the user.  For example, if someone taps into Mitt Romney’s speaker profile, that’s interest.  If they tap in and then favorite him as a speaker, that’s a stronger signal.  And so forth.

DoubleDutch scores seven different signals in the application in order to generate an “interestingness” score for each speaker, agenda, and exhibitor at the event.

The results will likely surprise you.


Working with the Washington Examiner, DoubleDutch analysts tabulated all of the activity on the CPAC 2013 to generate an Interestingness score for all speakers, presentations, and exhibitors.


The CPAC speaker lineup was a who’s who of Republican thought leaders.  From Romney to Gingrich to Paul and Palin, all the biggest names were represented.

When we ran the analytics package across the data, it became clear that the more established personalities carried the day in terms of in app buzz.



But the content was a different story.  While Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney earned the top slots as speakers, neither ranked in the top 8 in terms of content.

Instead, the most buzzed about presentations were given by Marco Rubio, Ron Paul, and Paul Ryan, suggesting that these three presentations resonated the most with the CPAC audience.


Also present at CPAC were a number of sponsors representing causes critical to the American conservative movement.  Of the more than 100 exhibitors represented, The Tea Party garnered far and away the most interest, trailed by the NRA and the Leadership Institute.


While it is difficult to draw sweeping conclusions from the behavior of 2800 people at a conference, there is certainly some food for thought in this data.

Kudos to the Washington Examiner for undertaking such an interesting experiment in Mobile / Social / Politics / Big Data.

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