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Dynamic Targeting in an Online Social Medium

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7710)

Abstract

Online human interactions take place within a dynamic hierarchy, where social influence is determined by qualities such as status, eloquence, trustworthiness, authority and persuasiveness. In this work, we consider topic-based Twitter interaction networks, and address the task of identifying influential players. Our motivation is the strong desire of many commerical entities to increase their social media presence by engaging positively with pivotal bloggers and Tweeters. After discussing some of the issues involved in extracting useful interaction data from a Twitter feed, we define the concept of an active node subnetwork sequence. This provides a time-dependent, topic-based, summary of relevant Twitter activity. For these types of transient interactions, it has been argued that the flow of information, and hence the influence of a node, is highly dependent on the timing of the links. Some nodes with relatively small bandwidth may turn out to be key players because of their prescience and their ability to instigate follow-on network activity. To simulate a commercial application, we build an active node subnetwork sequence based on key words in the area of travel and holidays. We then compare a range of network centrality measures, including a recently proposed version that accounts for the arrow of time, with respect to their ability to rank important nodes in this dynamic setting. The centrality rankings use only connectivity information (who Tweeted whom, when), but if we post-process the results by examining account details, we find that the time-respecting, dynamic, approach, which looks at the follow-on flow of information, is less likely to be ‘misled’ by accounts that appear to generate large numbers of automatic Tweets with the aim of pushing out web links. We then benchmark these algorithmically derived rankings against independent feedback from five social media experts who judge Twitter accounts as part of their professional duties. We find that the dynamic centrality measures add value to the expert view, and indeed can be hard to distinguish from an expert in terms of who they place in the top ten. We also highlight areas where the algorithmic approach can be refined and improved.

Keywords

Centrality Measure Active Node Twitter User Twitter Data Centrality Ranking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bloom Agency: Green Sand FoundryUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of StrathclydeUnited Kingdom
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsUniversity of ReadingReadingUnited Kingdom

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