Predicting tweet impact using a novel evidential reasoning prediction method

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Abstract

This study presents a novel evidential reasoning (ER) prediction model called MAKER-RIMER to examine how different features embedded in Twitter posts (tweets) can predict the number of retweets achieved during an electoral campaign. The tweets posted by the two most voted candidates during the official campaign for the 2017 Ecuadorian Presidential election were used for this research. For each tweet, five features including type of tweet, emotion, URL, hashtag, and date are identified and coded to predict if tweets are of either high or low impact. The main contributions of the new proposed model include its suitability to analyse tweet datasets based on likelihood analysis of data. The model is interpretable, and the prediction process relies only on the use of available data. The experimental results show that MAKER-RIMER performed better, in terms of misclassification error, when compared against other predictive machine learning approaches. In addition, the model allows observing which features of the candidates’ tweets are linked to high and low impact. Tweets containing allusions to the contender candidate, either with positive or negative connotations, without hashtags, and written towards the end of the campaign, were persistently those with the highest impact. URLs, on the other hand, is the only variable that performs differently for the two candidates in terms of achieving high impact. MAKER-RIMER can provide campaigners of political parties or candidates with a tool to measure how features of tweets are predictors of their impact, which can be useful to tailor Twitter content during electoral campaigns.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114400
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Volume169
Early online date13 Dec 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021