Discovering Patterns of Online Popularity from Time Series

Published in Expert Systems with Applications, 2020

Abstract: ‘How is popularity gained online? Is being successful strictly related to rapidly becoming viral in an online platform, or is it possible to acquire popularity in a steady and disciplined fashion? What are other temporal characteristics that can unveil the popularity of online content? To answer these questions, we leverage a multifaceted temporal analysis of the evolution of popular online content. We present dipm-SC: a multidimensional shape-based time-series clustering algorithm with a heuristic to find the optimal number of clusters. First, we validate the accuracy of our algorithm on synthetic datasets generated from benchmark time series models. Second, we show that dipm-SC can uncover meaningful clusters of popularity behaviors in real-world GitHub and Twitter datasets. By clustering the multidimensional time-series of the popularity of contents coupled with other domain-specific dimensions, we discover two main patterns of popularity: bursty and steady temporal behaviors. Furthermore, we find that the way popularity is gained over time has no significant impact on the final cumulative popularity.’

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