From time to time, we feature on this Blog an exciting research result that’s been picked up the mainstream media. Here’s one that’s garnered some interest this week, having first appeared on The New York Times‘ Bits Blog: engineers at Twitter are presenting papers at the 6th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-12) in Dublin — as well as the co-located workshop on Social Media Visualization — attempting to scientifically characterize the real-time nature of the popular social media platform.
- Examining all search queries from October 2011, we see that, on average, about 17% of the top 1000 query terms from one hour are no longer in the top 1000 during the next hour. In other words, 17% of the top 1000 query terms “churn over” on an hourly basis.
- Repeating this at a granularity of days instead of hours, we still find that about 13% of the top 1000 query terms from one day are no longer in the top 1000 during the next day.
- During major events, the frequency of queries spike dramatically. For example, on October 5, immediately following news of the death of Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs, the query “steve jobs” spiked from a negligible fraction of query volume to 15% of the query stream — almost one in six of all queries issued! Check it out: the query volume is literally off the charts! Notice that related queries such as “apple” and “stay foolish” spiked as well.
The engineers are also presenting a visualization of seasonal variation of tweeting patterns for users in New York, Tokyo, Istanbul, and São Paul, illustrating different patterns of activity for the four different cities.
For example, waking/sleeping times are relatively constant throughout the year in Tokyo, but the other cities exhibit seasonal variations. We see that Japanese users’ activities are concentrated in the evening, whereas in the other cities there is more usage during the day. In Istanbul, nights get shorter during August; Sao Paulo shows a time interval during the afternoon when Tweet volume goes down, and also longer nights during the entire year compared to the other three cities.
And be sure to peruse the CCC’s Computing Research Highlights of the Week, updated every Thursday, for more recent advances. If you have an interesting research result you would like featured here, submit a Highlight today!
(Contributed by Erwin Gianchandani, CCC Director)