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Studying Online & Offline Communities through the Prism of Social Media Data

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Keynote at the Second International Symposium on Spatiotemporal Computing (ISSC 2017), August 7th – 9th, 2017 at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Studying Online & Offline Communities through the Prism of Social Media Data

  1. 1. STUDYING ONLINE & OFFLINE COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE PRISM OF SOCIAL MEDIA DATA ANATOLIYGRUZD (@GRUZD) Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management Director of the Social Media Lab Ryerson University
  2. 2. We are an interdisciplinary academic research laboratory
  3. 3. #OccupyGezi Supporters in Victoria, BC From this… Photo credit: Anatoliy Gruzd In the Social Media Lab, we study how social media …. Anatoliy Gruzd How social media can support online communities, social activism & political engagement?
  4. 4. Photo credit: Karl Schönswetter … to this #OccupyGezi: Gezi Parki Protest, Turkey (2013) 5 In the Social Media Lab, we study how social media …. How social media can support online communities, social activism & political engagement?
  5. 5. 2B users 400M users 300M users Growth of Social Media Data @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 6
  6. 6. Decision Making in domains such as Politics, Health Care and Education @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 7 + More Ways to Access Social Media Data Public APIs Data Resellers Self- collected /reported
  7. 7. Data -> Visualizations -> Understanding How to Make Sense of Social Media Data? Data and Visual Analytics @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 8
  8. 8. How to Make Sense of Social Media Data? Spatiotemporal Computing @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 9
  9. 9. How to Make Sense of Social Media Data? Spatiotemporal Computing Geography of Twitter Networks @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 13
  10. 10. How to Make Sense of Social Media Data? Spatiotemporal Computing & Text Mining @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 14
  11. 11. How to Make Sense of Social Media Data? Spatiotemporal Computing & Text Mining Source: http://www.fenuxe.com/tag/geo-coded Tracking Hate Speech on Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 15
  12. 12. Key Points 1. Social Media Data is a good proxy to study online and offline social interactions 2. Social Network Analysis is an effective method to analyze social media data @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 16
  13. 13. Outline • Background – Social Media & Social Network Analysis • Social Media Use during the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution • Case of VKontakte • Case of Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 17
  14. 14. 1) Represent data as a network Nodes = People Edges /Ties = Relations (ex. Who is a friend with whom, Who replies to whom, etc.) •2) Apply Social Network Analysis (SNA) Examining Social Media Data from a Network Perspective @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 18
  15. 15. Studying Online Social Networks http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc Forum networks Blog networks Friends’ networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc…) Networks of like-minded people (YouTube, Flickr, etc…) @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 19
  16. 16. Advantages of Using Social Network Analysis (SNA) Once the network is discovered, we can find out: • How do people interact with each other, • Who are the most/least active members of a group, • Who is influential in a group, • Who is susceptible to being influenced, etc… @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 20
  17. 17. Outline • Background • Social Media Use during the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution • Case of VKontakte • Case of Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 26
  18. 18. Background: 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution | Revolution of Dignity @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 28 "2014-02-21 11-04 Euromaidan in Kiev" by Amakuha. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia November 21, 2013 - Ukraine gov. suspended the trade & association agreement with EU
  19. 19. February 18-19, 2014: Protests in Kyiv (capital) Turned Deadly @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 29 source: http://liveuamap.com RUSSIA UKRAINE
  20. 20. February 18-19, 2014: Protests in Kyiv Turned Deadly @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 30 "Barricade line separating interior troops and protesters. Clashes in Kyiv, Ukraine. Events of February 18, 2014-2" by Mstyslav Chernov/Unframe/http://www.unframe.com/ - Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  21. 21. February 18-19, 2014: Protests in Kyiv Turned Deadly @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 31 "Euromaidan in Kiev 2014-02-19 12-06" by Amakuha. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  22. 22. February-March, 2014: Pro & Anti-Maidan Protests SpreadAcross Ukraine @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 32 source: http://liveuamap.com
  23. 23. February-April 2014:Awave of Anti-Maidan protests in South-East @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 33 Photo credit: Andriy Makukha. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  24. 24. March 2014: Annexation of Crimea by Russia @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 34 source: http://liveuamap.com
  25. 25. April 2014:Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) against pro-Russian Self-proclaimed republics: Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) & Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 35 source: http://liveuamap.com
  26. 26. Outline • Background - SNA • Social Media Use during the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution • Case of VKontakte • Case of Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 36
  27. 27. This part is based on @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 44 Gruzd, A. & Tsyganova, K. (2015). Information Wars and Online Activism During the 2013/2014 Crisis in Ukraine: Examining the Social Structures of Pro- and Anti-Maidan Groups. Policy & Internet 7(2). DOI: 10.1002/poi3.91 Gruzd, A. & O’Bright, B. (2017) Big Data and Political Science: The Case of VKontakte and the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine. In Sloan, L., & Quan-Haase, A. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods.
  28. 28. About Vkontakte – #1 Social Networking Website in Ukraine @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 45 source: http://en.wikipedia.org
  29. 29. Example: VK Group User Interface – Posts, Likes, Comments… @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 46
  30. 30. Example: VK Group User Interface – Discussion board, Links & Media Files… @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 47
  31. 31. Data Collection • Used VK Public API • Communities – information about groups and group members • Wall – posts and comments • Likes – “likes” that members and visitors leave on posts • Friends – group members’ friendship relations • Data collection: 2 most popular public Pro-Maidan and Anti-Maidan groups • Period: February 18 – May 25, 2015 @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 48 PRO1 PRO2 ANTI1 ANTI2 Num. of Nodes 141,542 96,402 60,506 69,029 Num. of Connections 338,344 221,452 280,678 192,273
  32. 32. Method • Social Network Analysis • SNA measures (e.g., centrality, density, network diameter) • Exponential Random Graph Modeling (ERGM) – test association tendencies • Walktrap Community Detection algorithm - identify and describe highly connected subgroups • Network Visualization using LGL (Large Graph Layout) • Manual Content Analysis of • Group pages and posts • Sample of public user profiles • Research software • Package R (libraries statnet and igraph) • Tableau for visual analytics @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 49
  33. 33. Different Friends’ Networks: What can we learn from them? @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 53 Anti-Maidan groupPro-Maidan group
  34. 34. • Formed in early April 2014 to support Maidan and Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) Yellow – users from Ukraine; Red – from Russia; Green – other countries; The layout algorithm is LGL (Large Graph Layout). Isolated nodes are not visible. VK Group Example – Pro Maidan #1 (Pro-Western) Friends’Network (>140k members) @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 54
  35. 35. • Formed in early April 2014 to support Maidan and Antiterrorist Operation (ATO) VK Group Example – Pro Maidan #1 (Pro-Western) Friends’Network (>140k members) @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 55 Crimean Tatars Spam (Marketing) “Walktrap” Community Detection
  36. 36. Subgroup 1 64% from Donetsk VK Group Example –Anti Maidan #1 “Walktrap” Community Detection 58@gruzd 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution • The group’s focus to support Anti- Maidan activism & the two self- proclaimed republics – Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics.
  37. 37. VKontakte Conclusions - Geography Matters! • Although all four groups included people from both Ukraine and Russia, the statistical models confirmed the tendency of group members to friend others in the same country. • Furthermore, we also observed homophily among users from the same city for the top-10 cities with the most number of VK users in all groups @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 62 Online social networks likely represent local and potentially pre-existing social networks "Euromaidan Protests" by Lvivske, NickK - Sources for particular cities are given at w:uk:Євромайдан у регіонах України. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  38. 38. Research Questions based on Country-to-Country Friendship Connections 1. Does international political rhetoric between states reflected in online networks, groups, and interaction? 2. What impact does temporary migration patterns, including international students, have on the demographic characteristics of online groups,? 3. Do expatriate communities in destination states have a demonstrable impact on the message content, user demographics, or other observable characteristics in online groups? @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 63
  39. 39. Country-to-Country Networks • Immigration • Political and Foreign Relations @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 64
  40. 40. Outline • Background • Social Media Use during the 2014 EuroMaidan Revolution • Case of VKontakte • Case of Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 66
  41. 41. This part is based on… @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 67 § Gruzd, A., Mai P., and Kampen, A. (2017). A how-to for using Netlytic to collect and analyze social media data: A case study of the use of Twitter during the 2014 Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine. In Sloan, L., & Quan-Haase, A. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Social Media Research Methods.
  42. 42. Source: Twitter Search API Request Rate: Hourly, up to 1000 tweets Time frame: Feb 18, 2014 – March 14, 2014 Tweeting about Ukraine in 3 languages @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 68 Україна Украина Ukraine Presumed Language Ukrainian Russian English # Tweets 200,956 527,112 591,394 # Unique Users 46,641 141,541 246,113
  43. 43. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/18/ukraine-police- storm-kiev-protest-camp-live-updates#start-of-comments Example: Twitter Communication Network about Ukraine Tweets about @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 69
  44. 44. @John @Peter @Paul • Nodes = People • Ties = “Who retweeted/ replied/mentioned whom” • Tie strength = The number of retweets, replies or mentions Communication Networks on Twitter @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 71
  45. 45. Twitter Communication Network # Tweets 200,956 # Unique Users 46,641
  46. 46. Twitter Communication Network Top 10 Mentioned Users (activists, news, politicians) Jared Leto expressed support of Ukrainian people in his Oscars award acceptance speech Jared Leto expressed support of Ukrainian people in his Oscars award acceptance speech
  47. 47. Twitter Communication Network # Tweets 527,112 # Unique Users 141,541
  48. 48. Twitter Communication Network Top 10 Mentioned Users (mostly Russian news agencies & journalists)
  49. 49. # Tweets 591,394 # Unique Users 246,113
  50. 50. Top 10 Mentioned Users (mostly news accounts)
  51. 51. Cross Network Comparison @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 83 Україна (in Ukrainian) Украина (in Russian) Ukriane (in English)
  52. 52. Takeaways • A combination of SNA, visualization and community detection algorithm, coupled with a manual content analysis of a sample of group messages and user profiles is an effective approach to study the underlying social structures of online groups and campaign. • Need to perform a multi-platform analysis • Need to know who and what types of networks we are analyzing: Friendship vs Communication networks • Geography Matters (even online)! @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 87
  53. 53. Image credit: Geralt Moving Forward • Social media data as a proxy to study online & offline communities • Combination of Social Network Analysis (SNA) and Spatiotemporal Analysis @gruzd Anatoliy Gruzd 89
  54. 54. STUDYING ONLINE & OFFLINE COMMUNITIES THROUGH THE PRISM OF SOCIAL MEDIA DATA ANATOLIYGRUZD (@GRUZD) Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management Director of the Social Media Lab Ryerson University

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