Joint Inference of User Community and Interest Patterns in Social Interaction Networks

Arif Mohaimin Sadri, Samiul Hasan, Satish V. Ukkusuri

Online social media have become an integral part of our social beings. Analyzing conversations in social media platforms can lead to complex probabilistic models to understand social interaction networks. In this paper, we present a modeling approach for characterizing social interaction networks by jointly inferring user communities and interests based on social media interactions. We present several pattern inference models: i) Interest pattern model (IPM) captures population level interaction topics, ii) User interest pattern model (UIPM) captures user specific interaction topics, and iii) Community interest pattern model (CIPM) captures both community structures and user interests. We test our methods on Twitter data collected from Purdue University community. From our model results, we observe the interaction topics and communities related to two big events within Purdue University community, namely Purdue Day of Giving and Senator Bernie Sanders' visit to Purdue University as part of Indiana Primary Election 2016. Constructing social interaction networks based on user interactions accounts for the similarity of users' interactions on various topics of interest and indicates their community belonging further beyond connectivity. We observed that the degree-distributions of such networks follow power-law that is indicative of the existence of fewer nodes in the network with higher levels of interactions, and many other nodes with less interactions. We also discuss the application of such networks as a useful tool to effectively disseminate specific information to the target audience towards planning any large-scale events and demonstrate how to single out specific nodes in a given community by running network algorithms.

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