A Context-Aware View over Social Media

Type of Thesis: 
Master Thesis

(Note: this topic has already been taken)

Social Media are omni-present and contain a wealth of information. Recent studies indicate that more and more user access the Web, and thus their favorite social network, using their mobile device. It is estimated that by 2014, more users will be accessing the Web using the mobile device than using a desktop computer.

Mobile users often use their device in different circumstances (e.g., on holiday, while driving or shopping) and to perform particular tasks related to their current context or environment (e.g., find nearby restaurants, lookup reviews for a product while shopping, retrieve information about a tourist attraction). Therefore, by directly offering the mobile user personalized and context-relevant information, mobile users can be facilitated in their context-related tasks. Such context-relevant information is available in a "neutral" form on the Web (e.g., on Wikipedia), but possibly also more personally relevant information is available in their extended social network.

The goal of this proposal is to develop a mobile (Android) application that allows users to obtain a context-aware view of their Facebook page. The idea is to completely re-invent the Facebook interface, and organize it based on the user's context information. For example, if the user is closeby the Atomium, the interface could show friends that have posted information about the Atomium, groups that deal about the Atomium, people that have liked Atomium-related items, etc. By extension, the system can derive that the Atomium is in Brussels, and also include information related to Brussels.

The mobile application should be built on top of the SCOUT framework, an existing context-aware development framework for mobile applications. The SCOUT framework runs on a mobile Android device, and provides you with automatic sensing and retrieval of context and environment information (e.g., nearby buildings, monuments, places, persons) and services (e.g., sensory data, actuators). This information is gathered in the so-called Environment Model, which is represented as an RDF graph and can be queried using the SPARQL query language. As such, SCOUT provides all the necessary context- en environment information to make a personalized, context-aware view of Facebook possible. More information on SCOUT can be found on http://wise.vub.ac.be/SCOUT/

Concretely, the envisioned mobile application consists of two parts:

  • The context-aware UI, that offers the mobile user a Facebook interface organized according to their context.
  • The context-aware updater, that allows the user to specify which context information (obtained from SCOUT) he wants to automatically post on Facebook (e.g., current country when he is abroad, monuments he is visiting, restaurants he visits, etc). 
Background Knowledge: 
  • Java
Technical challenges: 
  • You will learn how to develop user interfaces for Android
  • You will learn to programmatically access a social network (i.e., using Facebook's social graph)
  • You will learn how to use an (existing) context-aware framework
  • You will learn and apply basic knowledge on the Semantic Web (for example: RDF(S), OWL, SPARQL)
Contact: 
Olga De Troyer
Contact: 
Sven Casteleyn
Contact: 
William Van Woensel
Academic Year: 
2012-2013