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Analyzing the dynamics of communication in online social networks

Description

This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication,

This thesis deals with the analysis of interpersonal communication dynamics in online social networks and social media. Our central hypothesis is that communication dynamics between individuals manifest themselves via three key aspects: the information that is the content of communication, the social engagement i.e. the sociological framework emergent of the communication process, and the channel i.e. the media via which communication takes place. Communication dynamics have been of interest to researchers from multi-faceted domains over the past several decades. However, today we are faced with several modern capabilities encompassing a host of social media websites. These sites feature variegated interactional affordances, ranging from blogging, micro-blogging, sharing media elements as well as a rich set of social actions such as tagging, voting, commenting and so on. Consequently, these communication tools have begun to redefine the ways in which we exchange information, our modes of social engagement, and mechanisms of how the media characteristics impact our interactional behavior. The outcomes of this research are manifold. We present our contributions in three parts, corresponding to the three key organizing ideas. First, we have observed that user context is key to characterizing communication between a pair of individuals. However interestingly, the probability of future communication seems to be more sensitive to the context compared to the delay, which appears to be rather habitual. Further, we observe that diffusion of social actions in a network can be indicative of future information cascades; that might be attributed to social influence or homophily depending on the nature of the social action. Second, we have observed that different modes of social engagement lead to evolution of groups that have considerable predictive capability in characterizing external-world temporal occurrences, such as stock market dynamics as well as collective political sentiments. Finally, characterization of communication on rich media sites have shown that conversations that are deemed "interesting" appear to have consequential impact on the properties of the social network they are associated with: in terms of degree of participation of the individuals in future conversations, thematic diffusion as well as emergent cohesiveness in activity among the concerned participants in the network. Based on all these outcomes, we believe that this research can make significant contribution into a better understanding of how we communicate online and how it is redefining our collective sociological behavior.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Study of an epidemic multiple behavior diffusion model in a resource constrained social network

Description

In contemporary society, sustainability and public well-being have been pressing challenges. Some of the important questions are:how can sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emission, be encouraged? , How can a healthy lifestyle be maintained?Even though individuals are interested, they

In contemporary society, sustainability and public well-being have been pressing challenges. Some of the important questions are:how can sustainable practices, such as reducing carbon emission, be encouraged? , How can a healthy lifestyle be maintained?Even though individuals are interested, they are unable to adopt these behaviors due to resource constraints. Developing a framework to enable cooperative behavior adoption and to sustain it for a long period of time is a major challenge. As a part of developing this framework, I am focusing on methods to understand behavior diffusion over time. Facilitating behavior diffusion with resource constraints in a large population is qualitatively different from promoting cooperation in small groups. Previous work in social sciences has derived conditions for sustainable cooperative behavior in small homogeneous groups. However, how groups of individuals having resource constraint co-operate over extended periods of time is not well understood, and is the focus of my thesis. I develop models to analyze behavior diffusion over time through the lens of epidemic models with the condition that individuals have resource constraint. I introduce an epidemic model SVRS ( Susceptible-Volatile-Recovered-Susceptible) to accommodate multiple behavior adoption. I investigate the longitudinal effects of behavior diffusion by varying different properties of an individual such as resources,threshold and cost of behavior adoption. I also consider how behavior adoption of an individual varies with her knowledge of global adoption. I evaluate my models on several synthetic topologies like complete regular graph, preferential attachment and small-world and make some interesting observations. Periodic injection of early adopters can help in boosting the spread of behaviors and sustain it for a longer period of time. Also, behavior propagation for the classical epidemic model SIRS (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered-Susceptible) does not continue for an infinite period of time as per conventional wisdom. One interesting future direction is to investigate how behavior adoption is affected when number of individuals in a network changes. The affects on behavior adoption when availability of behavior changes with time can also be examined.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Establishing distributed social network trust model in MobiCloud system

Description

This thesis proposed a novel approach to establish the trust model in a social network scenario based on users' emails. Email is one of the most important social connections nowadays. By analyzing email exchange activities among users, a social network

This thesis proposed a novel approach to establish the trust model in a social network scenario based on users' emails. Email is one of the most important social connections nowadays. By analyzing email exchange activities among users, a social network trust model can be established to judge the trust rate between each two users. The whole trust checking process is divided into two steps: local checking and remote checking. Local checking directly contacts the email server to calculate the trust rate based on user's own email communication history. Remote checking is a distributed computing process to get help from user's social network friends and built the trust rate together. The email-based trust model is built upon a cloud computing framework called MobiCloud. Inside MobiCloud, each user occupies a virtual machine which can directly communicate with others. Based on this feature, the distributed trust model is implemented as a combination of local analysis and remote analysis in the cloud. Experiment results show that the trust evaluation model can give accurate trust rate even in a small scale social network which does not have lots of social connections. With this trust model, the security in both social network services and email communication could be improved.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Querying for relevant people in online social networks

Description

Online social networks, including Twitter, have expanded in both scale and diversity of content, which has created significant challenges to the average user. These challenges include finding relevant information on a topic and building social ties with like-minded individuals. The

Online social networks, including Twitter, have expanded in both scale and diversity of content, which has created significant challenges to the average user. These challenges include finding relevant information on a topic and building social ties with like-minded individuals. The fundamental question addressed by this thesis is if an individual can leverage social network to search for information that is relevant to him or her. We propose to answer this question by developing computational algorithms that analyze a user's social network. The features of the social network we analyze include the network topology and member communications of a specific user's social network. Determining the "social value" of one's contacts is a valuable outcome of this research. The algorithms we developed were tested on Twitter, which is an extremely popular social network. Twitter was chosen due to its popularity and a majority of the communications artifacts on Twitter is publically available. In this work, the social network of a user refers to the "following relationship" social network. Our algorithm is not specific to Twitter, and is applicable to other social networks, where the network topology and communications are accessible. My approaches are as follows. For a user interested in using the system, I first determine the immediate social network of the user as well as the social contacts for each person in this network. Afterwards, I establish and extend the social network for each user. For each member of the social network, their tweet data are analyzed and represented by using a word distribution. To accomplish this, I use WordNet, a popular lexical database, to determine semantic similarity between two words. My mechanism of search combines both communication distance between two users and social relationships to determine the search results. Additionally, I developed a search interface, where a user can interactively query the system. I conducted preliminary user study to evaluate the quality and utility of my method and system against several baseline methods, including the default Twitter search. The experimental results from the user study indicate that my method is able to find relevant people and identify valuable contacts in one's social circle based on the query. The proposed system outperforms baseline methods in terms of standard information retrieval metrics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2010

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Event analytics on social media: challenges and solutions

Description

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs have emerged as valuable

- in fact, the de facto - virtual town halls for people to discover, report, share and

communicate with others about various types of events. These events range from

widely-known

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs have emerged as valuable

- in fact, the de facto - virtual town halls for people to discover, report, share and

communicate with others about various types of events. These events range from

widely-known events such as the U.S Presidential debate to smaller scale, local events

such as a local Halloween block party. During these events, we often witness a large

amount of commentary contributed by crowds on social media. This burst of social

media responses surges with the "second-screen" behavior and greatly enriches the

user experience when interacting with the event and people's awareness of an event.

Monitoring and analyzing this rich and continuous flow of user-generated content can

yield unprecedentedly valuable information about the event, since these responses

usually offer far more rich and powerful views about the event that mainstream news

simply could not achieve. Despite these benefits, social media also tends to be noisy,

chaotic, and overwhelming, posing challenges to users in seeking and distilling high

quality content from that noise.

In this dissertation, I explore ways to leverage social media as a source of information and analyze events based on their social media responses collectively. I develop, implement and evaluate EventRadar, an event analysis toolbox which is able to identify, enrich, and characterize events using the massive amounts of social media responses. EventRadar contains three automated, scalable tools to handle three core event analysis tasks: Event Characterization, Event Recognition, and Event Enrichment. More specifically, I develop ET-LDA, a Bayesian model and SocSent, a matrix factorization framework for handling the Event Characterization task, i.e., modeling characterizing an event in terms of its topics and its audience's response behavior (via ET-LDA), and the sentiments regarding its topics (via SocSent). I also develop DeMa, an unsupervised event detection algorithm for handling the Event Recognition task, i.e., detecting trending events from a stream of noisy social media posts. Last, I develop CrowdX, a spatial crowdsourcing system for handling the Event Enrichment task, i.e., gathering additional first hand information (e.g., photos) from the field to enrich the given event's context.

Enabled by EventRadar, it is more feasible to uncover patterns that have not been

explored previously and re-validating existing social theories with new evidence. As a

result, I am able to gain deep insights into how people respond to the event that they

are engaged in. The results reveal several key insights into people's various responding

behavior over the event's timeline such the topical context of people's tweets does not

always correlate with the timeline of the event. In addition, I also explore the factors

that affect a person's engagement with real-world events on Twitter and find that

people engage in an event because they are interested in the topics pertaining to

that event; and while engaging, their engagement is largely affected by their friends'

behavior.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2014

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Connecting users with similar interests for group understanding

Description

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;

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2013