Live from Cannes: Harnessing the energy of the everyday

live from cannnes 15-02

Simon Harwood, Head of Futures, writes about harnessing the energy of the everyday.

Yesterday’s Cannes highlight was the talk given by Chris Moody, Twitter VP data strategy. He used tweets / hour data to demonstrate some revealing patterns in how people respond to different types of moments in time. The key distinction he made was between ‘cultural moments’ (the oscars, #thedress, Super Bowl) compared to ‘everyday moments’ (DIY, coffee, fashion).

He used the data to draw a powerful analogy between user behaviour in these moments and the energy distribution of lightning strikes vs. the daily power of the sun.

Lightning provides a sudden jolt of energy that is difficult to predict and harness.

In contrast the sun provides a constant and  incredibly predictable energy source, with daily peaks punctuated by nightfall.

We see the exact same energy patterns with humans on Twitter.

the dress

#thedress looks like a lightning strike, with a huge peak across one day before falling away within 48 hours. In contrast, fashion tweets look more like the sun with regular, predictable noise everyday punctuated by sleep.

The surprising thing when you look at the total volume of tweets is that, like the sun, these everyday moments deliver significantly more ‘energy’ than cultural ones.

DIY for example drives more tweets than the oscars.  Across the year everyday music contributes 1bn tweets, far more than generated by music events.

Chris showed a great example of using predictable events with the installation of ‘tweeting potholes’ to draw attention to road surface problems in Panama. Every time the tyre enters the pothole, a device inside would tweet a complaint to the local authority.

tweeting potholes

Customer service conversations are enormous in this everyday moment, with thousands of consumers reaching out for help.

Dove’s #speakbeautiful campaign identified 5 million negative body image tweets a day from women and responded with messages of support and encouragement.


Although global movements such as #putoutyourbats or #heforshe can ignite from individual moments in time, they are hard to predict.

With the data now available to us, brands should explore the predictable  and ongoing opportunities from everyday moments rather than purely focusing on the lightning strikes of cultural moments. Tweets / hour can reveal interesting patterns beyond the likes of #SuperBowl.


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