Ed Chi : 2012 Mobile and Social Workshop


Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Location and Language in Social Media"
1:15pm - 2:00pm


Despite the widespread adoption of social media internationally, little research has investigated the differences among users of different languages. Moreover, we know relatively little about how people reveal their location information. In this talk, I will outline our recent characterization studies on how users of differing geographical locations and languages use social media.

First, on geographical location: We found that 34% of users did not provide real location information in Twitter, frequently incorporating fake locations or sarcastic comments that can fool traditional geographic information tools. We performed a simple machine learning experiment to determine whether we can identify a user"s location by only looking at what that user tweets.

Second, on language, Examining users of the top 10 languages, we discovered cross-language differences in adoption of features such as URLs, hashtags, mentions, replies, and retweets.

We discuss our work"s implications for research on large-scale social systems and design of cross-cultural communication tools.


Ed H. Chi is a Staff Research Scientist at Google. Until recently, he was the Area Manager and a Principal Scientist at Palo Alto Research Center's Augmented Social Cognition Group. He led the group in understanding how Web2.0 and Social Computing systems help groups of people to remember, think and reason. Ed completed his three degrees (B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.) in 6.5 years from University of Minnesota, and has been doing research on user interface software systems since 1993. He has been featured and quoted in the press, including the Economist, Time Magazine, LA Times, and the Associated Press.

With 20 patents and over 90 research articles, his most well-known past project is the study of Information Scent --- understanding how users navigate and understand the Web and information environments. He also led a group of researchers at PARC to understand the underlying mechanisms in online social systems such as Wikipedia and social tagging sites. He has also worked on information visualization, computational molecular biology, ubicomp, and recommendation/search engines, and has won awards for both teaching and research. In his spare time, Ed is an avid Taekwondo martial artist, photographer, and snowboarder.