AAAI Publications, Fifth International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media

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Timing Tweets to Increase Effectiveness of Information Campaigns
Onkar Dabeer, Prachi Mehendale, Aditya Karnik, Atul Saroop

Last modified: 2011-07-05

Abstract


Microblogging websites such as Twitter are increasingly being used by businesses/campaigners for timely dissemination of information to their followers. The diffusion of a tweet depends on several factors: the activity of the follower nodes, the responsiveness of follower nodes to tweets from the source node, the out-degree of the follower nodes, the content of recent related tweets seen by the follower node, etc. Using such factors, in this paper, we propose a framework to measure the effectiveness of an information campaign over Twitter. We consider a positive as well as a negative metric to measure the impact of a tweet: while retweets are used to measure the positive impact, the lack of a timely response from an active follower node is taken as a potential negative impact. We investigate the scheduling of tweets to increase the net positive impact while keeping the net negative impact below a desired level. We propose and study several scheduling algorithms by casting the problem in a Markov Decision Process (MDP) framework. In order to compare our algorithms, we estimate the model parameters from tweet data collected using the Twitter API from an arbitrarily selected node and its 6837 followers over several months. For this dataset, we find that if successive tweets in the campaign are novel, then substantial gains over user activity based scheduling can be obtained by scheduling tweets in time slots where the ratio of the expected positive and negative metrics is high. We call this the MaxRatio policy and we show that it is optimal under certain conditions. In cases where we are not certain about the response of users to successive related tweets, we identify another algorithm (which we call MaxReach) as a robust alternative.

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