This line of research largely has to do with developing visual analytic interfaces and strategies to help media people such as journalists or public affairs analysts make sense of social media streams. For instance, in our CHI 2010 paper we looked at streams of Twitter messages in conjunction with sentiment analysis to assess aspects of the 2008 presidential debate such as strong or weak moments of either candidate, periodicity of sentiment response, and indications of controversial topics. In continuing work, we built Vox Civitas, a more comprehensive visual analytics environment for journalists interested in developing story ideas based on the individual and aggregate social media response to large scale broadcast events. A forthcoming paper (to be presented at the Visual Analytics Science and Technology VAST conference) talks about our evaluation of Vox Civitas and how it can be a useful sensemaking tool for journalists doing reporting.
N. Diakopoulos, D. A. Shamma. Characterizing Debate Performance via Aggregated Twitter Sentiment. Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). April, 2010. [PDF]
N. Diakopoulos, M. Naaman, F. Kivran-Swaine. Diamonds in the Rough: Social Media Visual Analytics for Journalistic Inquiry. Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST). October, 2010. [PDF]