Alto Data Analytics (Alto), an international big data company, provided the Capstone team with the results of their cluster analysis of US Twitter data from September 1 to November 15, 2017, to better understand their data in a journalistic framework. Specifically, Alto requested the team to create a transmedia product that captures the actual stories of the key “influencers” of the pro- and anti-Trump narratives on Twitter in the context of the current administration, with emphasis on conversations regarding Trump’s Russia connections.
Identified using Alto’s proprietary big data software -- Alto Analyzer, the key influencers were categorized into four distinct communities with varying sizes. The team’s mission was to then travel the country to conduct face-to-face interviews with these key influencers that were available. In total, the team was able to collect 23 video interviews from the west to east. Using these videos as primary data, the team then conducted thematic analysis to determine the most commonly appearing themes. Of the various inferences drawn from the analysis, the most notable is that the 2016 election mobilized new voices that are now driving the political debate as influencers in Twitter. The final deliverable included a website that contains video clips of all interviews with participating influencers that are categorized by common themes as well as standalone clips. They offer visualization of basic demographic information such as gender and race of interviewees and their distribution by state. In sum, the added human-dimension to Alto’s hard data will serve as a basis for its narrative advocacy tool.