December 2018, Vol. 44, No. 4, Pages 663-681
© 2018 Association for Computational Linguistics Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license
Introduction to the Special Issue on Language in Social Media: Exploiting Discourse and Other Contextual Information
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Social media content is changing the way people interact with each other and share information, personal messages, and opinions about situations, objects, and past experiences. Most social media texts are short online conversational posts or comments that do not contain enough information for natural language processing (NLP) tools, as they are often accompanied by non-linguistic contextual information, including meta-data (e.g., the user’s profile, the social network of the user, and their interactions with other users). Exploiting such different types of context and their interactions makes the automatic processing of social media texts a challenging research task. Indeed, simply applying traditional text mining tools is clearly sub-optimal, as, typically, these tools take into account neither the interactive dimension nor the particular nature of this data, which shares properties with both spoken and written language. This special issue contributes to a deeper understanding of the role of these interactions to process social media data from a new perspective in discourse interpretation. This introduction first provides the necessary background to understand what context is from both the linguistic and computational linguistic perspectives, then presents the most recent context-based approaches to NLP for social media. We conclude with an overview of the papers accepted in this special issue, highlighting what we believe are the future directions in processing social media texts.