ICWSM 2013

After a very difficult week I headed to Boston for the ICWSM 2013 in Cambridge, MA at MIT to present my paper “Cultural Dimensions in Twitter: Time, Individualism and Power” (honorable mention). It is my first long paper as a first author and felt very happy to have had the chance to present it in a great and prestigious university such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The conference had an excellent internet connection which sometimes is a problem in many conferences.  Maybe because of this, the participation of users in Twitter posting notes about the conference was very high.

The conference was opened with David Lazer address. He talked about complex contagion. The importance to invest more in interpreting data, understand semantics, at scale and evaluating result. 

Many great papers were presented,  among those,  “The Anatomy of Large Facebook cascades” by Dow et al.  In particular, they analyzed two kinds of cascades with high propagation: a picture of Obama hugging Michele and a humorous picture. I was wondering if highly propagated pictures within specific clusters should also be tracked. Many pictures shared among groups of friends tend to be related to to bulling.

“Families on Facebook” was a paper analyzing the communication of parents and their sons and daughters  in Facebook. I kept wondering, is it different the behavior of parents and children in different cultures when they communicate in facebeook?

The  best paper award was given to Sung et al. “ Booming Up he Long Tails: Discovering Potentially Contributive Users in Community-Based Question Answering Services.” What they did is to extract information from a korean social site similar to Yahoo Answers and detected those new users that will eventually become highly engaged users (and contribute in answering questions). They extracted several features from their profiles and ranked users better than the original automatic algorithm of the site.

Finally, the conference was closed by an excellent keynote given by Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg. They showed how they make art in visualizing data and obtaining information out of it at the same time (i.e., visualization of the wind http://hint.fm)

I also was fortunate to attend a tutorial given by Patrick Meyer, Carlos Castillo and Hemant Purohit : ” Crisis Mapping, Citizen Sensing and Social Media Analytics”. It is so great to attend a tutorial on applying computer science (IR, DM, ML, NLP, SN, HCI) to actually help people during crisis.

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