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Twitter in academic events: A study of temporal usage, communication, sentimental and topical patterns in 16 Computer Science conferences

Parra, D and Trattner, C and Gómez, D and Hurtado, M and Wen, X and Lin, YR (2016) Twitter in academic events: A study of temporal usage, communication, sentimental and topical patterns in 16 Computer Science conferences. Computer Communications, 73. 301 - 314. ISSN 0140-3664

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Twitter is often referred to as a backchannel for conferences. While the main conference takes place in a physical setting, on-site and off-site attendees socialize, introduce new ideas or broadcast information by microblogging on Twitter. In this paper we analyze scholars' Twitter usage in 16 Computer Science conferences over a timespan of five years. Our primary finding is that over the years there are differences with respect to the uses of Twitter, with an increase of informational activity (retweets and URLs), and a decrease of conversational usage (replies and mentions), which also impacts the network structure - meaning the amount of connected components - of the informational and conversational networks. We also applied topic modeling over the tweets' content and found that when clustering conferences according to their topics the resulting dendrogram clearly reveals the similarities and differences of the actual research interests of those events. Furthermore, we also analyzed the sentiment of tweets and found persistent differences among conferences. It also shows that some communities consistently express messages with higher levels of emotions while others do it in a more neutral manner. Finally, we investigated some features that can help predict future user participation in the online Twitter conference activity. By casting the problem as a classification task, we created a model that identifies factors that contribute to the continuing user participation. Our results have implications for research communities to implement strategies for continuous and active participation among members. Moreover, our work reveals the potential for the use of information shared on Twitter in order to facilitate communication and cooperation among research communities, by providing visibility to new resources or researchers from relevant but often little known research communities.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Parra, D
Trattner, C
Gómez, D
Hurtado, M
Wen, X
Lin, YRYURULIN@pitt.eduYURULIN0000-0002-8497-3015
Date: 1 January 2016
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Computer Communications
Volume: 73
Page Range: 301 - 314
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.comcom.2015.07.001
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Information Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0140-3664
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2016 16:12
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2021 08:55


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