Nothing But Net? Content and Network Factors in Information Diffusion

29/12/2015 - 12:00 - 13:00

Information diffusion is the process in which nuggets of information spread in a network (typically a social network). This is a complex process that depends on the network topology, the social structures and the information itself (content/language). In this talk I will discuss information diffusion from these different yet complementary perspectives. In the first part  of the talk I will focus on the features of the diffusing information.  I will  present a gradient boosted trees algorithm modified for learning user preferences of Twitter hashtags. In the second part of my talk I will focus on the network structure. I will use exponential random graph models (ERGM) in order to learn what latent factors contribute to network formation and I will show how network structure and social roles contribute to the information spread. Specifically, I will present promising results obtained on political networks in the American political systems and analysis of the partisan use of political hashtags. 

In both parts I put emphasis on interpretable models that go beyond accurate prediction and  facilitate a better understanding of complex social processes.

Oren Tsur
Harvard University and Northeastern University
Engineering Building 1103, Room 329