Conference Monitor


  • Awalin Sopan, Graduate Student in the Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland
  • PJ Rey, Graduate Student in the Department of Sociology, University of Maryland
  • Jae-wook Ahn, Visiting Scholar, HCIL, University of Maryland
  • Catherine Plaisant, Research Scientist, UMIACS, Associate Director of Research at HCIL
  • Ben Shneiderman, Professor, Computer Science, Researcher (and Founding Director) at HCIL

Project Description

Conference Monitor (CM) is a real time webbased tweet visualization dashboard to monitor the backchannel conversation during academic conferences.

Social-media-supported academic conferences are becoming increasingly global as people anywhere can participate actively through backchannel conversation. It can be challenging for the conference organizers to integrate the use of social media, to take advantage of the connections between backchannel and front stage, and to encourage the participants to be a part of the broader discussion occurring through social media. As academic conferences are different in nature, specialized tools and methods are needed to analyze the vast amount of digital data generated through the backchannel conversation, which can offer key insights on best practices. CMs web interface consists of four coordinated panels:

  • Time line: A time line of tweets, the y-axis on the line shows number of tweets per 15 minute interval. It helps compare the sessions (e.g., which sessions generated more conversation, who were the active people during a session) and to observe the pace of tweets.
  • Hashtags: The tag cloud of hashtags occurring in the tweets. Identifies trending and popular hashtags.
  • User table: A table presenting relevant information about the participants. Identifies active participants (with more tweets) and popular participants (being mentioned and retweeted more).
  • Tweet feed: Tweets occurring during the conference having the conference hashtag.
The source code is available on request.


  • Video the Conference Monitor: video
  • Watch it on YouTube:


    • Sopan, A., Rey, P., Butler, B., Shneiderman, B. (September 2012) Monitoring Academic Conferences: Real-time Visualization and Retrospective Analysis of Backchannel Conversations. Social Informatics 2012. Tech report version

    • Presentation

      Talk slides from Social Infomratics: here.


      This work is supported by the NSF grant IIS 0968521.

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