Conversations in Social Media
In a news publisher website such as The Guardian, The Observer or Le Monde, journalists publish articles on different topics from politics and civil rights to health, sports and celebrity news. The website design supports the publication and consumption of original news articles and at the same time facilitates user-involvement via reader comments. In this scenario there are a number of potential users: news readers and the originating journalist want to gain a structured overview of the mass of comments, both in terms of the sub-topics they address and their connection with the original article and in terms of the opinions (polarity and strength) the commenters hold about these topics; news readers who join a forum discussion need to be empowered so that they can respond to the originating article (or parts of it) and/or to a sub-set of earlier comments that may be relevant to their own personal view on the matter; editors or media analysts may need a more widely scoping analysis. At present none of these users can effectively exploit the current mass of comment data: what they need is new tools that help them make sense of this data deluge.