Identifying Topical Authorities in Microblogs

WSDM '11 Proceedings of the fourth ACM international conference on Web search and data mining |

Published by ACM

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Content in microblogging systems such as Twitter is produced by tens to hundreds of millions of users. This diversity is a notable strength, but also presents the challenge of finding the most interesting and authoritative authors for any given topic. To address this, we first propose a set of features for characterizing social media authors, including both nodal and topical metrics. We then show how probabilistic clustering over this feature space, followed by a within-cluster ranking procedure, can yield a final list of top authors for a given topic. We present results across several topics, along with results from a user study confirming that our method finds authors who are significantly more interesting and authoritative than those resulting from several baseline conditions. Additionally our algorithm is computationally feasible in near real-time scenarios making it an attractive alternative for capturing the rapidly changing dynamics of microblogs.