17th AIAI 2021, 25 - 27 June 2021, Greece

Topic identification via human interpretation of word clouds: The case of Instagram hashtags

Stamatios Giannoulakis, NICOLAS TSAPATSOULIS


  Word clouds are a very useful tool for summarizing textual information. They can be used to illustrate the most frequent and important words of text documents or a set of text documents. In that respect they can also be used for topic visualisation. In this paper we present an experiment investigating how the crowd understands topics visualised via word clouds. In the experiment we use the topics mined from Instagram hashtags of a set of Instagram images corresponding to 30 different subjects. By subject we mean the research hashtag we use to gather pairs of Instagram images and hashtags. With the aid of an innovative topic modelling method, developed in a previous work, we constructed word clouds for the visualisation of each topic. Then we used a popular crowdsourcing platform (Appen) to let users identify the topic they believe each word cloud represents. The results show some interesting variations across subjects which are analysed and discussed in detail throughout the paper. Given that the topics were mined from Instagram hashtags, the current study provides useful insights regarding the appropriateness of hashstags as image annotation tags.  

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