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Using Conceptual Class Attributes to Characterize Social Media Users

Shane Bergsma and Benjamin Van Durme

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


We describe a novel approach for automatically predicting the hidden demographic properties of social media users. Building on prior work in common-sense knowledge acquisition from third-person text, we first learn the distinguishing attributes of certain classes of people. For example, we learn that people in the Female class tend to have maiden names and engagement rings. We then show that this knowledge can be used in the analysis of first-person communication; knowledge of distinguishing attributes allows us to both classify users and to bootstrap new training examples. Our novel approach enables substantial improvements on the widely-studied task of user gender prediction, obtaining a 20% relative error reduction over the current state-of-the-art.

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