By Kiran Garimella and Michael Mathioudakis
Our recent paper titled ‘The Effect of Collective Attention on Controversial Debates on Social Media’ (arXiv link) won the best student paper award at the 9th ACM Web Science conference held in Troy, New York.
The paper studies the evolution of long-lived controversial debates on Twitter – i.e., discussions on topics such as ‘gun control’ or ‘abortion’, that reveal a split of opinion between people who support different sides of the argument.
The main goal of this work is to study dynamic aspects of controversial debates — in particular: (i) whether controversy around the debates has increased over time; and (ii) whether controversy increases or decreases when major associated events occur.
The dataset consists of an 1% sample of Twitter of all tweets generated between September 2011 and September 2016, as published by Twitter and stored on the Internet Archive (
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I’ve been using the same browser (Safari) on my macbook for about a year now, so I thought I should take a look at my browsing activity for that time. I don’t really wish to go into the matter of how much time I spend online (too much?) … 🙂 But if you use Safari on a Mac and want to take a look at your browsing history, I’ve uploaded this ipython notebook that can help get you started. It contains simple scripts to retrieve the history (what website was visited and when) and then make a couple of plots based on it.