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More of a Receiver Than a Giver: Why Do People Unfollow in Twitter?

AAAI Conferences

We propose a logistic regression model taking into account two analytically different sets of factors–structure and action. The factors include individual, dyadic, and triadic properties between ego and alter whose tie breakup is under consideration. From the fitted model using a large-scale data, we discover 5 structural and 7 actional variables to have significant explanatory power for unfollow. One unique finding from our quantitative analysis is that people appreciate receiving acknowledgements from others even in virtually unilateral communication relationships and are less likely to unfollow them: people are more of a receiver than a giver.


Talk of the City: Our Tweets, Our Community Happiness

AAAI Conferences

The literature of urban sociology and that of psychology have separately established two relationships: the first has linked characteristics of a community to its residents’ well-being, the second has linked well-being of individuals to their use of words. No one has hitherto explored the potential transitive relationship - that between characteristics of a community and its residents' use of words. We test this relationship by performing three steps. We consider Twitter users in a variety of London census communities; extract the subject matter of their tweets using "topic models"; and study the relationship between topics and community socio-economic well-being. We find that certain topics are correlated (positively and negatively) with community deprivation. Users in more deprived community tweet about wedding parties, matters expressed in Spanish/Portuguese, and celebrity gossips. By contrast, those in less deprived communities tweet about vacations, professional use of social media, environmental issues, sports, and health issues. We finally show that monitoring the subject matter of tweets not only offers insights into community well-being, but it is also a reasonable way of predicting community deprivation scores.


Learning to Discover Social Circles in Ego Networks

Neural Information Processing Systems

Our personal social networks are big and cluttered, and currently there is no good way to organize them. Social networking sites allow users to manually categorize their friends into social circles (e.g. `circles' on Google+, and `lists' on Facebook and Twitter), however they are laborious to construct and must be updated whenever a user's network grows. We define a novel machine learning task of identifying users' social circles. We pose the problem as a node clustering problem on a user's ego-network, a network of connections between her friends. We develop a model for detecting circles that combines network structure as well as user profile information. For each circle we learn its members and the circle-specific user profile similarity metric. Modeling node membership to multiple circles allows us to detect overlapping as well as hierarchically nested circles. Experiments show that our model accurately identifies circles on a diverse set of data from Facebook, Google+, and Twitter for all of which we obtain hand-labeled ground-truth data.


Tweeting from the Town Square: Measuring Geographic Local Networks

AAAI Conferences

This paper examines tweets about two geographically local events—a shooting and a building collapse—that took place in Wichita, Kansas and Atlanta, Georgia, respectively. Most Internet research has focused on examining ways the Internet can connect people across long distances, yet there are benefits to being connected to others who are nearby. People in close geographic proximity can provide real-time information and eyewitness updates for one another about events of local interest. We first show a relationship between structural properties in the Twitter network and geographic properties in the physical world. We then describe the role of mainstream news in disseminating local information. Last, we present a poll of 164 users’ information seeking practices. We conclude with practical and theoretical implications for sharing information in local communities.


Predictors of short-term decay of cell phone contacts in a large scale communication network

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Under what conditions is an edge present in a social network at time t likely to decay or persist by some future time t + Delta(t)? Previous research addressing this issue suggests that the network range of the people involved in the edge, the extent to which the edge is embedded in a surrounding structure, and the age of the edge all play a role in edge decay. This paper uses weighted data from a large-scale social network built from cell-phone calls in an 8-week period to determine the importance of edge weight for the decay/persistence process. In particular, we study the relative predictive power of directed weight, embeddedness, newness, and range (measured as outdegree) with respect to edge decay and assess the effectiveness with which a simple decision tree and logistic regression classifier can accurately predict whether an edge that was active in one time period continues to be so in a future time period. We find that directed edge weight, weighted reciprocity and time-dependent measures of edge longevity are highly predictive of whether we classify an edge as persistent or decayed, relative to the other types of factors at the dyad and neighborhood level.