An Overabundance of Research, Data, and Tools

social network, communication in the global computer networks. silhouette of a human head with an interface icons

We've arrived at the inevitable point of imperfection. I started out looking for authoritative resources on how social media data is harvested, processed, and used in commercial and political communication campaigns, and I sure did find them. The problem is this realm is changing so fast, many of these sources are out of date. Regardless, this research project must come to an end on May 11th when I turn in my IS 452 final project. My proposed annotated bibliography has become a series of marginal blog posts. But the fight continues.

Annotation – Content Marketing Through Data Mining on Facebook Social Network

Gephi software visualization

So far I've been looking at how researchers analyze social media networks, and perform tasks like opinion or sentiment analysis to understand how people feel and think about various subjects and entities. With this annotation we're looking at a thing called content marketing, where influential users of a social network are first identified, then used to spread messages to their network of influence. Even in a huge network, a little bit of leverage in the right places can move products, and perhaps elections.

Annotation – Mining Social Media: Key Players, Sentiments, and Communities

VIKAMINE screenshot

This is an academic research project and for the most part I'm focusing on academic resources. But I'm working to understand the specific tools and methods for mining social media data in order to effectively intervene using communications campaigns. The annotation offered here adds to these concepts by introducing "community mining" and techniques for analyzing key players, roles, and strong subgroup connections of communication and influence within a larger social media network. These are key concepts for understanding how opinions within a network are formed, shared, and spread. Or as someone might have once said, it's about influencing a group by influencing the influencers.

Annotation – Comparative Opinion Mining: A Review

Thumbs up down and sideways

I had no sense of how much research has been done on sentiment analysis, opinion mining, and machine learning. I suppose major progress had to wait until there were massive datasets of text content available to process. The explosion of data on social media has provided both the impetus and the fodder to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques that are beginning to actually work. In this annotation I present an overview of the techniques and tools of comparative opinion mining. It's great to know what people feel and think about one thing. It's probably twice as great to know what they think about two things. Like two different cars, guitars, or political candidates.

Annotation: A Survey on Sentiment Analysis and Opinion Mining Techniques

A elephant running

The phrase "sentiment analysis" is high on the list of search terms for anyone seeking to understand how to process social media data. It's a component of Natural Language Processing (NLP), where a machine extracts (somewhat) accurate meaning from human language and textual information. This seems really hard, unless I'm wrong, because the whole AI field and NLP seem to be moving forward fast once again. Here's an annotation of a journal article that provides a decent overview.

Annotation: Interview with Ian Brooks

Crimson Hexagon dashboard

I met Ian Brooks and his family through the theatre program at Champaign's Central High School, where our kids participated in numerous performances and the whole wonderful high school theatre thing. I knew he was doing research in the use of social media to inform public health interventions, as a faculty member of the University of Illinois iSchool and associate of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. So when I took on this project he was the first person I wanted to consult for insight.