Structural trend analysis for online social networks

Ceren Budak, Divyakant Agrawal, Amr El Abbadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)


The identification of popular and important topics discussed in social networks is crucial for a better understanding of societal concerns. It is also useful for users to stay on top of trends without having to sift through vast amounts of shared information. Trend detection methods introduced so far have not used the network topology and has thus not been able to distinguish viral topics from topics that are diffused mostly through the news media. To address this gap, we propose two novel structural trend definitions we call coordinated and uncoordinated trends that use friendship information to identify topics that are discussed among clustered and distributed users respectively. Our analyses and experiments show that structural trends are significantly different from traditional trends and provide new insights into the way people share information online. We also propose a sampling technique for structural trend detection and prove that the solution yields in a gain in efficiency and is within an acceptable error bound. Experiments performed on a Twitter data set of 41.7 million nodes and 417 million posts show that even with a sampling rate of 0.005, the average precision is 0.93 for coordinated trends and 1 for uncoordinated trends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-656
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of the VLDB Endowment
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science(all)

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