7 Ways Sentiment Is Hard To Decipher Online - InformationWeek
Healthcare // Analytics
03:20 PM
Connect Directly

7 Ways Sentiment Is Hard To Decipher Online

Online comments don't fall neatly into like or dislike, so it take nuances to understand them.

Online comments don't fall neatly into "positive" and "negative" buckets. There's a range of consumer sentiment that challenges even the most sophisticated natural language processing technologies. At last month's Sentiment Analysis Symposium, Catherine van Zuylen, VP of products at Attensity, a social analytics software vendor, provided this list of difficult comment-analysis problems:

False negatives: The words "crying" and "crap" suggest negativity, but then there is "I was crying with joy" or "Holy crap! This is great." Here's where simplistic tools might be fooled.

Relative sentiment: "I bought a Honda Accord." Great for Honda but bad for Toyota.

Compound sentiment: Doing work for movie studies, Attensity has had to make sense of comments such as "I loved the trailer but hated the movie." Big mobile phone companies encounter mixed messages such as "I love the phone but hate the network."

Conditional sentiment: "If someone doesn't call me back, I'm never doing business with them again." Or "I was really pissed, but then they gave me a refund."

Scoring sentiment: Vendors are expected to measure relative sentiment, but how positive is "I like it" versus "I really like it" versus "I love it"?

Sentiment modifiers: "I bought an iPhone today :-)" or "Gotta love the cable company ;-<". Emoticons are straightforward, but what words are they connected to?

International sentiment: Japanese have unique emoticons, like (;_;) for crying. Italians tend to be far more effusive and grandiose, whereas Brits are generally drier and less effusive, making those relative scoring challenges mentioned earlier all the more complicated.

Sophisticated systems can be optimized to handle these kind of problems, van Zuylen says. But analyst Seth Grimes says no amount of tuning will lead to perfection, so it's best to focus the extra effort on developing insight about and acting on the majority of clear-cut sentiments.

Go to the main story:
Sentiment Analysis: How Companies Now Listen To The Web

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
6/25/2012 | 2:32:05 PM
re: 7 Ways Sentiment Is Hard To Decipher Online
Sentiment is tricky to measure - but if businesses really want to understand their customers, why not take a look at their actual behavior? They are the best indicators! A recent study (http://ow.ly/bNZvG) showed that outreach based on behavioral triggers led to 4x as many conversions.

Guy Nirpaz
CEO and Founder, Totango
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll