Whoo.ly: Facilitating Information Seeking For Hyperlocal Communities Using Social Media

  • Yuheng Hu ,
  • Shelly D. Farnham, Ph.D. ,
  • Andrés Monroy-Hernández

Published by ACM Sig CHI 2013

Social media systems promise powerful opportunities for people to connect to timely, relevant information at the hyper local level. Yet, finding the meaningful signal in noisy social media streams can be quite daunting to users. In this paper, we present and evaluate Whoo.ly, a web service that provides neighborhood-specific information based on Twitter posts that were automatically inferred to be hyperlocal. Whoo.ly automatically extracts and summarizes hyperlocal information about events, topics, people, and places from these Twitter posts. We provide an overview of our design goals with Whoo.ly and describe the system including the user interface and our unique event detection and summarization algorithms. We tested the usefulness of the system as a tool for finding neighborhood information through a comprehensive user study. The outcome demonstrated that most participants found Whoo.ly easier to use than Twitter and they would prefer it as a tool for exploring their neighbor-hoods.