Does Imageable Language Make Your Tweets More Persuasive?

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Andy BernhardtTomek StrzalkowskiNing SaAnkita BhaumikGregorios Katsios

Abstract: Imageability is a psycholinguistic property of words that indicates how quickly and easily a word evokes a mental image or other sensory experience. Highly imageable words are easier to read and comprehend, and, as a result, their use in communications, such as social media, makes messages more memorable, and, potentially, more impactful and influential. In this paper, we explore the relationship between the imageability of messages in social media and their influence on the target audience. We focus on messages surrounding important public events and approximate the influence of a message by the number of retweets the message receives. First, we propose novel ways to determine an imageability score for a text, utilizing combinations of word-level imageability scores from the MRCPD+ lexicon, as well as word embeddings, image caption data, and word frequency data. Next, we compare these new imageability score functions to a variety of simple baseline functions in correlation between tweet imageability and number of retweets in the domain of the 2017 French Presidential Elections. We find that the imageability score of messages is correlated with the number of retweets in general, and also when normalized for topic and novelty; thus, imageable language is potentially more influential. We consider grouping tweets into imageability score ranges, and find that tweets within higher ranges of imageability scores receive more retweets on average compared to tweets within lower ranges. Lastly, we manually annotate a small number of tweets for imageability and show that our imageability score functions agree well with the human annotators when the agreement between human raters is high.

Keywords: NLP, Imageability, Influence, Social Media

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003277

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