Just when I thought I had a good handle on social media and the latest trends another revelation hits me between the eyes. Thanks to my friend Paul Philips, last night I became aware of something called ‘sentiment analysis‘. I am a little embarrassed to admit I didn’t know about it because its been around for a while. However I feel comfortable in taking a stab at guessing that most people are not aware of how far along its come. A quick search on google delivers 3.5M hits for the subject.
Not content with asking us to rate and rank everything we see, attend, or eat, companies are now keeping tabs on how we feel and what mood we are in. Based on certain trends, they can now start to predict our behaviors and what mood we will end up in. In researching this I came across a fun website called sentiment140.com. Simply search just about anything and based on tweets it can tell you how the subject or brand is trending positively or negatively. For example 3D has a positive trend of 63%, ‘Roy’ gets 66%. Fun.
A screen grab of a new app that color codes digital messages so you can see, at a glance, if their content is good, bad or indifferent.
So why the hell should we care? Well first of all there are new apps coming that might prove very useful. For example they can scan your email and colour code them to let you know if, for example, someone is angry with you or very happy. Nothing predictive here (yet) just scanning and taking a guess at whats in the mail.
But what about when the tools used fail to get the mood and the messages right? I have quite a hard enough time being understood in America as it is already. Add in some analytic tools that don’t understand English irony or sarcasm and I can see all kinds of problems. One wonders how these engines would get on with the two Ronnies.