COSMOS Research Center

Social Media Analysis Training

Dates: August 7 – 9, 2024
Venue: COSMOS Research Center, EIT 603
2801 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Arkansas 72204

Point of contact:
Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Ph.D.
Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Chair & Donaghey Distinguished Professor
Director, COSMOS Research Center
University of Arkansas – Little Rock

Objective: This training course will introduce state-of-the-art developments in mining social media to support business intelligence and decision-making. The course aims to teach emerging challenges and opportunities with social media, impart analytical skills to enhance understanding of the data and prepare the participants to learn innovative applications of multidisciplinary problem-solving approaches.

Modality: Hybrid (in-person location: EIT 603; online: Zoom link will be emailed)

Requirements: Computer with internet connection. Familiarity with programming languages such as Python.

Course Description: Social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X/Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Wikis, blogs, etc.) have become an integral part of our society. People connect, share, enrich, and consume content, opinions, and experiences with others, resulting in massive online social networks. Analyzing social media data helps study the properties and behaviors pertaining to individuals, communities, and organizations and advance our understanding of social and cultural dynamics through the lens of contemporary information and communication tools (ICTs). The knowledge thus extracted helps in harnessing business intelligence and guides decision-making.

The course will introduce basic social science concepts, theories, and principles that guide model development, data analysis, and inferencing. Data collection from social media sites using crawlers and APIs will be discussed in depth through hands-on exercises. Interfacing the collected data with visualization and analytical tools/software will be taught to enable a better understanding of data and perform knowledge extraction. Specifically, content analysis and network analysis techniques will be taught to meaningfully process data to identify trends, leaders, sentiments, and opinions. These skills will help analyze social media data about products, services, campaigns, markets, events, customers, and employees; segment audience by geography or demographics, influencers, recommenders or detractors; and measure social media activities. Case studies will be discussed to demonstrate the impact even the most basic analyses could afford in various domains such as security, health, business, policy-making, socio-political and cultural assessments of different regions worldwide, strategic communication, and public affairs, among others.

Agenda: (all times are in US Central)

August 7 (Day 1) 10:00 AM – 5:00 PMAugust 8 (Day 2) 10:00 AM – 5:00 PMAugust 9 (Day 3) 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Theme: Data CollectionTheme: Data Analysis & VisualizationTheme: Putting it Together: Case Studies
10:00 AMWelcome & Introduction10:00 AMContent analysis – I10:00 AMInvited Talk
10:30 AMData collection – scraping11:00 AMContent analysis – II11:00 AMLightning Talks
12:00 PMLunch12:00 PMLunch12:00 PMLunch
1:00 PMData collection – APIs1:00 PMNetwork analysis & visualization – I1:00 PMWrap up
3:00 PMBreak3:00 PMBreak 
3:30 PMData collection – APIs (contd.)3:30 PMNetwork analysis & visualization – II

Registration: Visit the registration portal to register and pay for the training course. Select “COSMOS Social Media Analysis Training” from the list of events.  Registration is mandatory for participation.  Limited participation scholarships up to $1,000 are available.  Please indicate if you need the scholarship on the registration portal.


Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Ph.D.
Director, Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Research Center
Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Chair & Donaghey Distinguished Professor, Information Science
University of Arkansas – Little Rock
Faculty Fellow, International Computer Science Institute
University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Nitin Agarwal’s research aims to push the boundaries of our understanding of digital and cyber social behaviors that emerge and evolve constantly in modern information and communication platforms. At COSMOS, he leads projects with a combined funding of over $25 million from an array of U.S. federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, DARPA, Department of State, and National Science Foundation. He plays a significant role in the long-term partnership between UA Little Rock and the Department of Homeland Security. He developed publicly available social media analysis tools (Blogtracker and VTracker), assisting NATO Strategic Communications and Public Affairs, European Defense agencies, Australian Defense Science and Technology agency’s strategic policy group, Singapore government, Arkansas Attorney General’s office, among others. Dr. Agarwal participates in the National Tech Innovation Hub launched by the U.S. Department of State to defeat foreign-based propaganda.

Dr. Agarwal’s research contributions lie at the intersection of social computing, behavior-cultural modeling, collective action, social cyber forensics, Artificial Intelligence, data mining, machine learning, smart health, and privacy. From Saudi Arabian women’s right to drive cyber campaigns to Autism awareness campaigns to ISIS’ and anti-West/anti-NATO disinformation campaigns, at COSMOS, he is directing several projects that have made foundational and applicational contributions to social and computational sciences, particularly in understanding coordinated cyber campaigns. He has published 11 books and over 300 articles in top-tier peer-reviewed forums, including NATO’s Defense StratCom Journal, Army University Press, CANSOFCOM’s Future Conflict journal, and Baltic Security, among others, with several best paper awards and nominations. His most recent book explores deviant behaviors on the Internet and is published by Springer in their series on cybersecurity. Local, national, and international media, including Bloomberg, US News, KUAR, Arkansas Business, Arkansas Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and many others, have covered his work. Over the last several years, Dr. Agarwal has spoken at various public and professional, national and international forums such as NATO’s StratCom COE (Riga, Latvia), DARPA, US Department of State, US Naval Space and Warfare (SPAWAR), US Pentagon’s Strategic Multilevel Assessment groups, US National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Facebook Asia Pacific HQ, Twitter Asia Pacific HQ, US Embassy in Singapore, Singapore Ministry of Communication and Information, NATO Senior Leadership meetings, USIP, among others. He serves as a technical advisor to Little Rock-based firms, including through the FinTech Accelerator.

Dr. Agarwal obtained Ph.D. from Arizona State University with outstanding dissertation recognition in 2009. He was recognized as one of ‘The New Influentials: 20 In Their 20s’ by Arkansas Business in 2012. He was recognized with the University-wide Faculty Excellence Award in Research and Creative Endeavors by UALR in 2015 and 2021. Dr. Agarwal received the Social Media Educator of the Year Award at the 21st International Education and Technology Conference in 2015. In 2017 the Arkansas Times featured Dr. Agarwal in their special issue on “Visionary Arkansans”. Dr. Agarwal was nominated as International Academy, Research and Industry Association (IARIA) Fellow in 2017, an Arkansas Academy of Computing (AAoC) Fellow in 2018, and an Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) Fellow in 2018. In 2021, his research was recognized as one of the top 10 solutions for “Countering Cognitive Warfare: The invisible Threat” by NATO’s Innovation Hub out of 132 teams from the 30 NATO member nations. In 2022, his COVID-19 Misinformation tracker was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the key technological innovations globally to address the COVID-19 pandemic. IEEE, the world’s premier electrical and electronic engineering professional organization, recognized Dr. Agarwal as a senior member in 2022. He can be reached at