PREDICTION IN SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MONITORING AND RECOMMENDATION
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Social media including blogs and microblogs provide a rich window into user online activity. Monitoring social media datasets can be expensive due to the scale and inherent noise in such data streams. Monitoring and prediction can provide significant benefit for many applications including brand monitoring and making recommendations. Consider a focal topic and posts on multiple blog channels on this topic. Being able to target a few potentially influential blog channels which will contain relevant posts is valuable. Once these channels have been identified, a user can proactively join the conversation themselves to encourage positive word-of-mouth and to mitigate negative word-of-mouth. Links between different blog channels, and retweets and mentions between different microblog users, are a proxy of information flow and influence. When trying to monitor where information will flow and who will be influenced by a focal user, it is valuable to predict future links, retweets and mentions. Predictions of users who will post on a focal topic or who will be influenced by a focal user can yield valuable recommendations. In this thesis we address the problem of prediction in social media to select social media channels for monitoring and recommendation. Our analysis focuses on individual authors and linkers. We address a series of prediction problems including future author prediction problem and future link prediction problem in the blogosphere, as well as prediction in microblogs such as twitter. For the future author prediction in the blogosphere, where there are network properties and content properties, we develop prediction methods inspired by information retrieval approaches that use historical posts in the blog channel for prediction. We also train a ranking support vector machine (SVM) to solve the problem, considering both network properties and content properties. We identify a number of features which have impact on prediction accuracy. For the future link prediction in the blogosphere, we compare multiple link prediction methods, and show that our proposed solution which combines the network properties of the blog with content properties does better than methods which examine network properties or content properties in isolation. Most of the previous work has only looked at either one or the other. For the prediction in microblogs, where there are follower network, retweet network, and mention network, we propose a prediction model to utilize the hybrid network for prediction. In this model, we define a potential function that reflects the likelihood of a candidate user having a specific type of link to a focal user in the future and identify an optimization problem by the principle of maximum likelihood to determine the parameters in the model. We propose different approximate approaches based on the prediction model. Our approaches are demonstrated to outperform the baseline methods which only consider one network or utilize hybrid networks in a naive way. The prediction model can be applied to other similar problems where hybrid networks exist.