Social media play a central role in many people’s lives, and they also have a profound impact on businesses and society. Users post vast amounts of content (text, photos, audio, video) every minute. This user generated content (UGC) has become increasingly multimedia in nature. It documents users’ lives, revealing in real time their interests and concerns and activities in society. The analysis of UGC can offer insights to individual and societal concerns and could be beneficial to a wide range of applications, for example, tracking mobility in cities, identifying citizen’s issues, opinion mining, and much more.
In contrast to classical media, social media thrive by allowing anyone to publish content with few constraints and no oversight. Social media posts thus show great variation in length, content, quality, language, speech and other aspects. This heterogeneity poses new challenges for standard content access and analysis methods. On the other hand, UGC is often related to other public information (e.g. product reviews or discussion of news articles), and there often is rich contextual information linking, which allows for new types of analyses.
In this seminar, we aim at discussing the specific properties of UGC, the general research tasks currently operating on this type of content, identifying their limitations and lacunae, and imagining new types of applications made possible by the availability of vast amounts of UGC.