Authors: Quan Li, Ziming Wu, Lingling Yi, Kristanto Sean N, Huamin Qu, and Xiaojuan Ma
Abstract: Social media, such as Facebook and WeChat, empowers millions of users to create, consume, and disseminate online information on an unprecedented scale. The abundant information on social media intensifies the competition of WeChat Public Official Articles (i.e., posts) for gaining user attention due to the zero-sum nature of attention. Therefore, only a small portion of information tends to become extremely popular while the rest remains unnoticed or quickly disappears. Such a typical ``long-tail'' phenomenon is very common in social media. Thus, recent years have witnessed a growing interest in predicting the future trend in the popularity of social media posts and understanding the factors that influence the popularity of the posts. Nevertheless, existing predictive models either rely on cumbersome feature engineering or sophisticated parameter tuning, which are difficult to understand and improve. In this paper, we study and enhance a point process-based model by incorporating visual reasoning to support communication between the users and the predictive model for a better prediction result. The proposed system supports users to uncover the working mechanism behind the model and improve the prediction accuracy accordingly based on the insights gained. We use realistic WeChat articles to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system and verify the improved model on a large scale of WeChat articles. We also elicit and summarize the feedback from WeChat domain experts.