Doctoral student Zachary Stine’s article “Characterizing the Language‑Production Dynamics of Social Media Users” was accepted for publication by Springer’s Social Network Analysis and Mining (SNAM) on September 28, 2019. The article, co-authored by Dr. Nitin Agarwal, was published online on October 3.


In this paper, we propose a characterization of social media users based on language usage over time in order to make more rigorous the notions of organic and inorganic online behavior. This characterization describes the extent to which a user’s word usage within a particular time period subverts expectations based on preceding time periods. To do this, we adapt the use of an information theoretic measure of cognitive surprise and apply it to a set of behaviorally diverse Twitter users. We then compare the language-production dynamics across users based on term frequencies at multiple levels of granularity. We then illustrate the intuition behind this characterization through case studies of salient users identified from this method. Through these case studies, we find that this characterization can be linked to the degree to which a user’s word usage is organic, inorganic, or a mixture of both.

Stine, Z.K. & Agarwal, N. Soc. Netw. Anal. Min. (2019) 9: 60.


This research at COSMOS is funded in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Naval Research, U.S. Air Force Research Lab, U.S. Army Research Office, U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Arkansas Research Alliance, and the Jerry L. Maulden/Entergy Endowment at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding organizations.

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