TwitterStand: News in Tweets

Jagan Sankaranarayanan, Hanan Samet, Benjamin E. Teitler, Michael D. Lieberman, Jon Sperling


Twitter is an electronic medium that allows a large user populace to communicate with each other simultaneously. Inherent to Twitter is an asymmetrical relationship between friends and followers that provides an interesting social network like structure among the users of Twitter. Twitter messages, called tweets, are restricted to 140 characters and thus are usually very focused. We investigate the use of Twitter to build a news processing system, called TwitterStand, from Twitter tweets. The idea is to capture tweets that correspond to late breaking news. The result is analogous to a distributed news wire service. The difference is that the identities of the contributors/reporters are not known in advance and there may be many of them. Furthermore, tweets are not sent according to a schedule: they occur as news is happening, and tend to be noisy while usually arriving at a high throughput rate. Some of the issues addressed include removing the noise, determining tweet clusters of interest bearing in mind that the methods must be online, and determining the relevant locations associated with the tweets.


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