Learning influence from heterogeneous social networks

Lu Liu, Jie Tang, Jiawei Han, Shiqiang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Influence is a complex and subtle force that governs social dynamics and user behaviors. Understanding how users influence each other can benefit various applications, e.g., viral marketing, recommendation, information retrieval and etc. While prior work has mainly focused on qualitative aspect, in this article, we present our research in quantitatively learning influence between users in heterogeneous networks. We propose a generative graphical model which leverages both heterogeneous link information and textual content associated with each user in the network to mine topic-level influence strength. Based on the learned direct influence, we further study the influence propagation and aggregation mechanisms: conservative and non-conservative propagations to derive the indirect influence. We apply the discovered influence to user behavior prediction in four different genres of social networks: Twitter, Digg, Renren, and Citation. Qualitatively, our approach can discover some interesting influence patterns from these heterogeneous networks. Quantitatively, the learned influence strength greatly improves the accuracy of user behavior prediction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-544
Number of pages34
JournalData Mining and Knowledge Discovery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Influence propagation
  • Social influence analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Topic modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications

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