Unfolding the dimensionality structure of social networks in ideological embeddings
Pedro Ramaciotti Morales, Jean-Philippe Cointet, Gabriel Zolotoochin
Publications – Communication
Traditionally, public opinion on different issues of public debate has been studied through polls and surveys. Recent advancements in network ideological scaling methods, however, have shown that digital behavioral traces in social media platforms can be used to mine opinions at a massive scale. This has yet to be shown to work beyond one-dimensional opinion scales, which are best suited for two-party systems and binary social divides such as those observed in the US. In this article, we use multidimensional ideological scaling for coupled with referential attitudinal data for some nodes. We show that opinions can be mined in a multitude of issues: from social networks, embedding them in ideological spaces where dimensions stand for indicators of positive and negative opinions, towards issues of public debate. This method does not require text analysis and is thus language independent. We illustrate this approach on the Twitter follower network of French users leveraging political survey data.