Outtweeting the Twitterers - Predicting Information Cascades in Microblogs
Microblogging sites are a unique and dynamic Web 2.0 communication medium. Understanding the information flow in these systems can not only provide better insights into the underlying sociology, but is also crucial for applications such as content ranking, recommendation and filtering, spam detection and viral marketing. In this paper, we characterize the propagation of URLs in the social network of Twitter, a popular microblogging site. We track 15 million URLs exchanged among 2.7 million users over a 300 hour period. Data analysis uncovers several statistical regularities in the user activity, the social graph, the structure of the URL cascades and the communication dynamics. Based on these results we propose a propagation model that predicts which users are likely to mention which URLs. The model correctly accounts for more than half of the URL mentions in our data set, while maintaining a false positive rate lower than 15%.