Widespread Worry and the Stock Market

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

UPDATE: I have released the classifiers, R scripts and aggregate data from this paper. The archive has a README to get you started and some example Java showing how to use the classifiers. Get it here.

I have a new paper at ICWSM 2010. I’m really looking forward to all the great work in the program. The central thesis of my paper: estimating anxiety, worry and fear from blogs provides some novel information about future stock market prices.

ABSTRACT: Our emotional state influences our choices. Research on how it happens usually comes from the lab. We know relatively little about how real world emotions affect real world settings, like financial markets. Here, we demonstrate that estimating emotions from weblogs provides novel information about future stock market prices. That is, it provides information not already apparent from market data. Specifically, we estimate anxiety, worry and fear from a dataset of over 20 million posts made on the site LiveJournal. Using a Granger-causal framework, we find that increases in expressions of anxiety, evidenced by computationally-identified linguistic features, predict downward pressure on the S&P 500 index. We also present a confirmation of this result via Monte Carlo simulation. The findings show how the mood of millions in a large online community, even one that primarily discusses daily life, can anticipate changes in a seemingly unrelated system. Beyond this, the results suggest new ways to gauge public opinion and predict its impact.

pdf Widespread Worry and the Stock Market.
Proc. ICWSM, 2010.

CSCW 2010: Understanding Deja Reviewers">CSCW 2010: Understanding Deja Reviewers

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

I’m happy to announce a new paper, a departure from my thesis work. It’s going to appear at CSCW 2010, and it looks at people who write product reviews that really look like other reviews. I call them deja reviewers. I’m also happy to report that the note got the best of CSCW award. Very cool!

ABSTRACT: People who review products on the web invest considerable time and energy in what they write. So why would someone write a review that restates earlier reviews? Our work looks to answer this question. In this paper, we present a mixed-method study of deja reviewers, latecomers who echo what other people said. We analyze nearly 100,000 Amazon.com reviews for signs of repetition and find that roughly 10–15% of reviews substantially resemble previous ones. Using these algorithmically-identified reviews as centerpieces for discussion, we interviewed reviewers to understand their motives. An overwhelming number of reviews partially explains deja reviews, but deeper factors revolving around an individual’s status in the community are also at work. The paper concludes by introducing a new idea inspired by our findings: a self-aware community that nudges members toward community-wide goals. (espresso machine courtesy of jakeliefer.)

pdf Understanding Deja Reviewers.
Proc. CSCW, 2010.

RedSpace, BlueSpace

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

corn and chicago
image courtesy of the Illinois state highway system. thanks!

I recently completed a project examining differences between rural and urban MySpace users. Currently, I have a paper in submission. ssh. This is really just a placeholder for that paper once it’s published (somewhere). I took an quantitative approach, and found the following: rural users have much smaller networks much closer to home, rural users value privacy more and women represent a much greater proportion of rural users. I will write more once the paper comes out.