Combining Post Sentiments and User Participation for Extracting Public Stances from Twitter
With the wide popularity of social media, it's becoming more convenient for people to express their opinions online. To better understand what the public think about a topic, sentiment classification techniques have been widely used to estimate the overall orientation of opinions in post contents. However, users might have various degrees of influence depending on their participation in discussions on different topics. In this paper, we address the issues of combining sentiment classification
... nt classification and link analysis techniques for extracting stances of the public from social media. Since social media posts are usually very short, word embedding models are first used to learn different word usages in various contexts. Then, deep learning methods such as Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) are used to learn the long-distance context dependency among words for better estimation of sentiments. Third, we consider the major user participation in popular social media by adjusting the users weights to reflect their relative influence in user-post interaction graphs. Finally, we combine post sentiments and user influences into a total opinion score for extracting public stances. In the experiments, we evaluated the performance of our proposed approach for tweets about the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. The best performance of sentiment classification can be observed with an F-measure of 72.97% for LSTM classifiers. This shows the effectiveness of deep learning methods in learning word usage in social media contexts. The experimental results on stance extraction showed the best performance of 0.68% Mean Absolute Error (MAE) in aggregating public stances on election candidates. This shows the potential of combining tweet sentiments and user participation structures for extracting the aggregate stances of the public on popular topics. Further investigation is needed to verify the performance in different social media sources.