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

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The Pulse of News in Social Media: Forecasting Popularity
Roja Bandari, Sitaram Asur, Bernardo A Huberman

Last modified: 2012-05-20

Abstract


News articles are extremely time sensitive by nature. There is also intense competition among news items to propagate as widely as possible. Hence, the task of predicting the popularity of news items on the social web is both interesting and challenging. Prior research has dealt with predicting eventual online popularity based on early popularity. It is most desirable, however, to predict the popularity of items prior to their release, fostering the possibility of appropriate decision making to modify an article and the manner of its publication. In this paper, we construct a multi-dimensional feature space derived from properties of an article and evaluate the efficacy of these features to serve as predictors of online popularity. We examine both regression and classification algorithms and demonstrate that despite randomness in human behavior, it is possible to predict ranges of popularity on twitter with an overall 84% accuracy. Our study also serves to illustrate the differences between traditionally prominent sources and those immensely popular on the social web.

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