Connecting users with similar interests for group understanding

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In most social networking websites, users are allowed to perform interactive activities. One of the fundamental features that these sites provide is to connecting with users of their kind. On

In most social networking websites, users are allowed to perform interactive activities. One of the fundamental features that these sites provide is to connecting with users of their kind. On one hand, this activity makes online connections visible and tangible; on the other hand, it enables the exploration of our connections and the expansion of our social networks easier. The aggregation of people who share common interests forms social groups, which are fundamental parts of our social lives. Social behavioral analysis at a group level is an active research area and attracts many interests from the industry. Challenges of my work mainly arise from the scale and complexity of user generated behavioral data. The multiple types of interactions, highly dynamic nature of social networking and the volatile user behavior suggest that these data are complex and big in general. Effective and efficient approaches are required to analyze and interpret such data. My work provide effective channels to help connect the like-minded and, furthermore, understand user behavior at a group level. The contributions of this dissertation are in threefold: (1) proposing novel representation of collective tagging knowledge via tag networks; (2) proposing the new information spreader identification problem in egocentric soical networks; (3) defining group profiling as a systematic approach to understanding social groups. In sum, the research proposes novel concepts and approaches for connecting the like-minded, enables the understanding of user groups, and exposes interesting research opportunities.