4 July 2013

Reasons To Use Sentiment Analysis In Social Media

Have you ever considered the use of sentiment analysis in social media?
Wimbledon fans amongst you would have noticed that the IBM Slamtracker which keeps all the scores at Wimbledon now also gives a sentiment analysis for each player.  This is achieved by monitoring the number of positive or negative tweets and posts on Twitter and Facebook respectively.  Notice the yellow bar graphs below which give the sentiment strength of each player.
Wimbledon Slamtracker also monitors sentiment
The yellow bar graphs gives the sentiment rating for each player 
As the IBM Slamtracker is a predictive tool it seems that an element of the Slamtracker's analytical tools were comparing the sentiment of the crowd for each player against the actual performance of each player.

Why Is Sentiment Analysis Important?

In a day to day situation, sentiment analysis is important because we are more inclined to make a purchase when we are either very sad or very happy.  To change your emotional state we tend buy things.  More often then not we are in a negative state when an impulse purchase is made.  Also be aware that negative sentiment often implies that we need to find and/or buy a solution to an existing problem.  Combining sentiment analysis with keyword search is an ideal way of finding someone who is in need of your services.

How Is This Done?

At a very basic level you can tap into the use of the Twitter Advanced Search Operators.
Typing your keyword(s) into twitter search along with :) , yes that's right, a smiley face, will give positive tweets related to a topic.
:( followed by your keyword will list negative tweets.
In my case I use specialised software to scan my clients tweets for negative sentiment as part of brand monitoring and customer service exercises.  I can also identify worthwhile retweets based on keywords and sentiment analysis.  As ridiculous as it seems, negative retweets get a considerably higher reaction.  The power of emotion I hear you say.

 What Will The Future Hold?

I am told that the CIA already uses sentiment analysis on the video feeds of airport travellers to identify who is a security risk.  I can see sentiment analysis creeping into the images on Facebook.  Who knows this might lead to auto-emoticons.

You might be thinking social media just got a whole lot more involved but hopefully you will consider the use of sentiment analysis in social media.