We are inundated with data—companies such as Twitter deal with petabytes of information on a daily basis. However, some users, especially the new ones, often find it difficult to cope with the overwhelming and disorganised deluge of information. Scientists have already worked out ways to identify Twitter trending topics, as a means to index information and make sense of it. However, we know little about the impact on trending topics of various intrinsic factors associated with the Twitter ecosystem. For example, anecdotal evidence suggests that trending topics are characterised by highly polarised tweets, or that large audiences typically host the emergence of trending topics. However, no study has yet addressed these issues formally. To remedy this situation, we have launched an investigation on the nature of trending topics. Our initial observations indicate that there is a correlation between strong sentiment polarity and the emergence of trending topics—we can also confirm that the strength of the polarity drops as the trending topics fade away. Conversely, our experiments highlight that there is no correlation between the size of a Twitter audience and the rise of trending topics.
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