Mapping Twitter Conversation Landscapes
While the most ambitious polls are based on standardized interviews with a few thousand people, millions are tweeting freely and publicly in their own voices about issues they care about. This data offers a vibrant 24/7 snapshot of people's response to various events and topics. The sheer scale of the data on Twitter allows us to measure in aggregate how the various issues are rising and falling in prominence over time. However, the volume of the data also means that an intelligent tool is required to allow the users to make sense of the data. To this end, we built a novel, interactive web-based tool for mapping the conversation landscapes on Twitter. Our system utilizes recent advances in natural language processing and deep neural networks that are robust with respect to the noisy and unconventional nature of tweets, in conjunction with a scalable clustering algorithm an interactive visualization engine to allow users to tap the mine of information that is Twitter. We ran a user study with 40 participants using tweets about the 2016 US presidential election and the summer 2016 Orlando shooting, demonstrating that compared to more conventional methods, our tool can increase the speed and the accuracy with which users can identify and make sense of the various conversation topics on Twitter.