Perception of Social Phenomena through the Multidimensional Analysis of Online Social Networks

Mar. 11 2017

Accepted at Online Social Networks and Media Journal by Elsevier [?].

Abstract. We propose an analytical framework aimed at investigating different views of the discussions regarding polarized topics which occur in Online Social Networks (OSNs).

The framework supports the analysis along multiple dimensions, i.e., time, space and sentiment of the opposite views about a controversial topic emerging in an OSN.

To assess its usefulness in mining insights about social phenomena, we apply it to two different Twitter case studies: the discussions about the refugee crisis and the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. These complex and contended topics are very important issues for EU citizens and stimulated a multitude of Twitter users to take side and actively participate in the discussions. Our framework allows to monitor in a scalable way the raw stream of relevant tweets and to automatically enrich them with location information (user and mentioned locations), and sentiment polarity (positive vs. negative). The analyses we conducted show how the framework captures the differences in positive and negative user sentiment over time and space. The resulting knowledge can support the understanding of complex dynamics by identifying variations in the perception of specific events and locations.


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