Social Media

Cano, Amparo Elisabeth, Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro, Danica Radovanovic, Katrin Weller, and Aba-Sah Dadzie. #Microposts2016 – 6th Workshop on ‘Making Sense of Microposts’ In WWW., 2016. Abstract

#Microposts2016, the 6th workshop on Making Sense of Microposts, is summarised by the sub-theme: big things come in small packages. The workshop serves as a forum to discuss and promote research on the generation, analysis and reuse of Microposts – small chunks of information published on social media and messaging platforms. Low effort and cost to publish Microposts gives a voice to all, across differences in expertise, socio-cultural, generational and economic spheres, covering a wide swathe of topics, posted in the moment and on the go, during events, crises and personal experiences. While the usual suspects, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest continue to dominate, especially as services are merged or shared across platforms,
newer players such as WhatsApp, Vine, Meerkat andYik Yak are growing in popularity, with increased access to fast, high capacity networks and advanced small, personal devices. #Microposts2016 solicited participation from Computer Science and other relevant fields, with a focus on interdisciplinary work. Starting in 2015, the workshop includes a track dedicated to encouraging research employing methods for analysis of Microposts in the Social Sciences.

Preoţiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Andrew H. Schwartz, Gregory Park, Johannes Eichstaedt, Margaret Kern, Lyle Ungar, and Elisabeth Shulman. Modelling Valence and Arousal in Facebook posts In Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis (WASSA). NAACL, 2016. AbstractPDFSlides

Access to expressions of subjective personal posts increased with the popularity of Social Media. However, most of the work in sentiment analysis focuses on predicting only valence from text and usually targeted at a product, rather than affective states. In this paper, we introduce a new data set of 2895 Social Media posts rated by two psychologically-trained annotators on two separate ordinal nine-point scales. These scales represent valence (or sentiment) and arousal (or intensity), which defines each post’s position on the circumplex model of affect, a well-established system for describing emotional states (Russell, 1980; Posner et al., 2005). The data set is used to train prediction models for each of the two dimensions from text which achieve high predictive accuracy – correlated at r = :65 with valence and r = :85 with arousal annotations. Our data set offers a building block to a deeper study of personal affect as expressed in social media. This can be used in applications such as mental illness detection or in automated large-scale psychological studies.

Leqi, Liu, Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro, Zahra Riahi, Mohsen E. Moghaddam, and Lyle Ungar. Analyzing Personality through Social Media Profile Picture Choice In ICWSM., 2016. AbstractPDFSlides

The content of images users post to their social media is driven in part by personality. In this study, we analyze how Twitter profile images vary with the personality of the users posting them. In our main analysis, we use profile images from over 66,000 users whose personality we estimate based on their tweets. To facilitate interpretability, we focus our analysis on aesthetic and facial features and control for demographic variation in image features and personality. Our results show significant differences in profile picture choice between personality traits, and that these can be harnessed to predict personality traits with robust accuracy. For example, agreeable and conscientious users display more positive emotions in their profile pictures, while users high in openness prefer more aesthetic photos.

Preoţiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Srijith P.K., Mark Hepple, and Trevor Cohn. Studying the temporal dynamics of word co-occurrences: An application to event detection In LREC., 2016. AbstractPDFSlides

Streaming media provides a number of unique challenges for computational linguistics. This paper studies the temporal variation in word co-occurrence statistics, with application to event detection. We develop a spectral clustering approach to find groups of mutually informative terms occurring in discrete time frames. Experiments on large datasets of tweets show that these groups identify key real world events as they occur in time, despite no explicit supervision. The performance of our method rivals state-of-the-art methods for event detection on F-score, obtaining higher recall at the expense of precision.

Preoţiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Wei Xu, and Lyle Ungar. Discovering User Attribute Stylistic Differences via Paraphrasing In AAAI., 2016. AbstractPDFSlides

User attribute prediction from social media text has proven successful and useful for downstream tasks. In previous studies, user trait differences have been limited primarily to the presence or absence of words that indicate topical preferences. In this study, we aim to find linguistic style distinctions across three different user attributes: gender, age and occupational class. By combining paraphrases with a simple yet effective method, we capture a wide set of stylistic differences that are exempt from topic bias. We show their predictive power in user profiling, conformity with human perception and psycholinguistic hypotheses, and potential use in generating natural language tailored to specific user traits.

Preoţiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Svitlana Volkova, Vasileios Lampos, Yoram Bachrach, and Nikolaos Aletras. "Studying User Income through Language, Behaviour and Affect in Social Media." PLoS ONE 10 (2015). AbstractWebsite

Automatically inferring user demographics from social media posts is useful for both social science research and a range of downstream applications in marketing and politics. We present the first extensive study where user behaviour on Twitter is used to build a predictive model of income. We apply non-linear methods for regression, i.e. Gaussian Processes, achieving strong correlation between predicted and actual user income. This allows us to shed light on the factors that characterise income on Twitter and analyse their interplay with user emotions and sentiment, perceived psycho-demographics and language use expressed through the topics of their posts. Our analysis uncovers correlations between different feature categories and income, some of which reflect common belief e.g. higher perceived education and intelligence indicates higher earnings, known differences e.g. gender and age differences, however, others show novel findings e.g. higher income users express more fear and anger, whereas lower income users express more of the time emotion and opinions.

Flekova, Lucie, Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro, Jordan Carpenter, Salvatore Giorgi, and Lyle Ungar. Analyzing crowdsourced assessment of user traits through Twitter posts In Work-in-Progress. HCOMP, 2015. AbstractPDFSup. MaterialsPoster

Social media allows any user to express themselves to the public through posting content. Using a crowdsourcing experiment, we aim to quantify and analyze which human attributes lead to better perceptions of the true identity of others. Using tweet content from a set of users with known age and gender information, we ask workers to rate their perception of these traits and we analyze those results in relation to the crowdsourcing workers’ age and gender. Results show that female workers are both more confident and more accurate at reporting gender, and workers in their thirties were most accurate but least confident for rating age. Our study is a first step in identifying the worker traits which contribute to a better understanding of others through their posted text content. Our findings help to identify the types of workers best suited for certain tasks.

Flekova, Lucie, Eugen Ruppert, and Daniel Preotiuc-Pietro. Analysing domain suitability of a sentiment lexicon by identifying distributionally bipolar words In Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis (WASSA). EMNLP, 2015. AbstractPDFSlides

Contemporary sentiment analysis approaches rely heavily on lexicon based methods. This is mainly due to their simplicity, although the best empirical results can be achieved by more complex techniques. We introduce a method to assess suitability of generic sentiment lexicons for a given domain, namely to identify frequent bigrams where a polar word switches polarity. Our bigrams are scored using Lexicographers Mutual Information and leveraging large automatically obtained corpora. Our score matches human perception of polarity and demonstrates improvements in classification results using our enhanced context-aware method. Our method enhances the assessment of lexicon based sentiment detection algorithms and can be further used to quantify ambiguous words.

Preoţiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Vasileios Lampos, and Nikolaos Aletras. An analysis of the user occupational class through Twitter content In ACL., 2015. AbstractPDFSlides

Social media content can be used as a complementary source to the traditional methods for extracting and studying collective social attributes. This study focuses on the prediction of the occupational class for a public user profile. Our analysis is conducted on a new annotated corpus of Twitter users, their respective job titles, posted textual content and platform-related attributes. We frame our task as classification using latent feature representations such as word clusters and embeddings. The employed linear and, especially, non-linear methods can predict a user’s occupational class with strong accuracy for the coarsest level of a standard occupation taxonomy which includes nine classes. Combined with a qualitative assessment, the derived results confirm the feasibility of our approach in inferring a new user attribute that can be embedded in a multitude of downstream applications.

Preotiuc-Pietro, Daniel, Johannes Eichstaedt, Gregory Park, Maarten Sap, Laura Smith, Victoria Tobolsky, Andrew H. Schwartz, and Lyle Ungar. The Role of Personality, Age and Gender in Tweeting about Mental Illnesses In Workshop on Computational Linguistics and Clinical Psychology: From Linguistic Signal to Clinical Reality (CLPsych). NAACL, 2015. AbstractPDFSlides

Mental illnesses, such as depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are highly underdiagnosed globally. Populations sharing similar demographics and personality traits are known to be more at risk than others. In this study, we characterise the language use of users disclosing their mental illness on Twitter. Language-derived personality and demographic estimates show surprisingly strong performance in distinguishing users that tweet a diagnosis of depression or PTSD from random controls, reaching an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve – AUC – of around .8 in all our binary classification tasks. In fact, when distinguishing users disclosing depression from those disclosing PTSD, the single feature of estimated age shows nearly as strong performance (AUC = .806) as using thousands of topics (AUC = .819) or tens of thousands of n-grams (AUC = .812). We also find that differential language analyses, controlled for demographics, recover many symptoms associated with the mental illnesses in the clinical literature.