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Combined Effect of Content Quality and Social Ties on User Engagement

Monday, December 11, 2017, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

ABSTRACT | The dynamics of attention in social media tend to obey power laws. Attention concentrates on a relatively small number of popular items neglecting the vast majority of content produced by the crowd. Although popularity can be an indication of the perceived value of an item within its community, previous research has highlighted the gap between success and intrinsic quality. As a result, high-quality content that receives low attention remains invisible and relegated to the long tail of the popularity distribution. Moreover, the production and consumption of content are influenced by the underlying social network connecting users by means of friendship or follower-followee relations. This talk will present a large-scale study on the complex intertwinement between quality, popularity and social ties in an online photo sharing platform, proposing a methodology to democratize exposure and foster long-term user engagement.

BIO | Rossano Schifanella is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of Turin, Italy, where he is a member of the Applied Research on Computational Complex Systems group. He is a visiting scientist at Nokia Bell Labs and a former visiting scientist at Yahoo Labs and at the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research at the Indiana University where he was applying computational methods to model the behavior of (groups of) individuals and their interactions on social media platforms. His research embraces the creative energy of a range of disciplines across data mining, network analysis, urban informatics, computational social science, and data visualization.