AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fifth International FLAIRS Conference

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Real-Time Filtering for Pulsing Public Opinion in Social Media
Samantha Finn, Eni Mustafaraj

Last modified: 2012-05-16

Abstract


When analysing social media conversations, in search of the public opinion about an unfolding event that is be- ing discussed in real-time (e.g., presidential debates, major speeches, etc.), it is important to distinguish between two groups of participants: opinion-makers and opinion-holders. To address this problem, we propose a supervised machine-learning approach, which uses inexpensively acquired labeled data from monothematic Twitter accounts to learn a binary classifier for the labels “political account” (opinion-makers) and “non-political account” (opinion-holders). While the classifier has a 83% accuracy on individual tweets, when applied to the last 200 tweets from accounts of a set of 1000 Twitter users, it classifies accounts with a 97% accuracy. This high accuracy derives from our decision to incorporate information about classifier probability into the classification. Our work demonstrates that machine learning algorithms can play a critical role in improving the quality of social media analytics and understanding, whose importance is increasing as social media adoption becomes widespread.

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