Emotions and Activity Profiles of Influential Users in Product Reviews Communities

Dorian Tanase, David Garcia, Antonios Garas and Frank Schweitzer

Frontiers in Physics (2015)


Viral marketing seeks to maximize the spread of a campaign through an online social network, often targeting influential nodes with high centrality. In this article, we analyze behavioral aspects of influential users in trust-based product reviews communities, quantifying emotional expression, helpfulness, and user activity level. We focus on two independent product review communities, Dooyoo and Epinions, in which users can write product reviews and define trust links to filter product recommendations. Following the patterns of social contagion processes, we measure user social influence by means of the k-shell decomposition of trust networks. For each of these users, we apply sentiment analysis to extract their extent of positive, negative, and neutral emotional expression. In addition, we quantify the level of feedback they received in their reviews, the length of their contributions, and their level of activity over their lifetime in the community. We find that users of both communities exhibit a large heterogeneity of social influence, and that helpfulness votes and age are significantly better predictors of the influence of an individual than sentiment. The most active of the analyzed communities shows a particular structure, in which the inner core of users is qualitatively different from its periphery in terms of a stronger positive and negative emotional expression. These results suggest that both objective and subjective aspects of reviews are relevant to the communication of subjective experience.