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Sentiment Analysis: The Heart of Internet

With the proliferation of social media, blogs, impactful communication and the involvement of brands…sentiment analysis: the statistical art of garnering meaning from the message is becoming vital. What is it and how does it work? It is the art of taking the emotion out of the statements made on social media, filtering out the noise, and deciphering the feeling, pro or con toward a particular subject. I am calling it an art, because it’s more than a statistical equation, it is the data’s sophisticated “hunch” at the total meaning of a statement. It isn’t easy. But it’s worth it.

Brands need to know how their customers are reacting to their actions. And what their reactions mean so they can respond correctively, thankfully, with more information, with friendship. And they need to know in as close to real-time as possible. That is why the team at Viral Heat is heavily focused on sentiment analysis. They have the tools to help brands decipher not only the facts but the moods of their target audiences.

Sentiment analysis can assist companies, but also non-profits and the entertainment industry gather honest feedback from the public. The American Red Cross is an example of an organization making great use of sentiment analysis. They are considered trend setters in the non-profit field which is just beginning to see the importance of using these tools in Social Media. Because they have an older constituency they are still employing older tools like surveys, as well.

In the entertainment industry, a movie was rescued from total embarrassment at its opening and the few weeks afterward using sentiment analysis. The movie is “Rock of Ages” with Tom Cruise which was released nationwide June 15th. Even though the film did poorly at the box office the movie goers still expressed a 96.8% positive sentiment toward the movie on Social Media.

To be accurate sentiment analysis algorithms must be more sophisticated than just based on a simple binary analysis: love is good, hate is bad. They must have filters to catch the shades of grey, the nuances in human speech. These are the sophisticated sentiment analysis programs of today and tomorrow which make it possible to know the heart of data gathering: the heart of the internet.

@copyright Libby Baker Sweiger

Libby Baker Sweiger has her own social media firm LBS Consult where she is a social media coach and blogger for business.

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