Analyzing Spread of Influence in Social Networks for Transportation Applications

Analyzing Spread of Influence in Social Networks for Transportation Applications
PI: Lourdes Abellera, Cal Poly, Pomona; Co-PI: Anand Panangadan, USC

Abstract: Utilization of transportation services is affected by perceptions of its cost and benefits. Such perceptions are increasingly determined on online social media networks. Transportation service information is provided through the service provider’s own websites or social media accounts. However, the opinions of peers on social media networks may exert a greater influence and have a wider reach than the information released by the service provider. Advances in social network analysis and text analysis enable quantification of network influence and identification of the most influential sources on a network. The goal of this project is to apply these methods to social media content on transportation services and identify the sources of the beliefs expressed in this content. The analysis is expected to reveal misinterpretations of some features of transportation services. This misinformation is then propagated via online social networks and forms the basis for opinions of a large number of persons. The patterns of information spread can be used by service providers to address misinformation at their sources. The project will develop an analysis of patterns of service-specific messages on Twitter. The analysis will enable visualization of the rate of spread and origins of opinions related to the service of interest.

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