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How do you mine sentiment on the web?

By Phil Verghis on August 24, 2009

Ah the simpler days of the Internet. Way back in 2002, during my Akamai days, we had team members manually mining public forums for customer comments during live events to ensure that we could pin point and resolve issues close to real time. Of course it would be impossible to scale staff enough to do that smartly today.

That’s why today’s New York Times article  (free registration required) on some of the tools available to mine blogs, Twitter and more caught my interest. Selected quotes from the article:

Scout Labs recently introduced a subscription service that allows customers to monitor blogs, news articles, online forums and social networking sites for trends in opinions about products, services or topics in the news.

Jodange offers a service geared toward online publishers that lets them incorporate opinion data drawn from over 450,000 sources, including mainstream news sources, blogs and Twitter.

Bo Pang, a researcher at Yahoo co-wrote “Opinion Mining and Sentiment Analysis,” one of the first academic books on sentiment analysis.

To get at the true intent of a statement, Ms. Pang developed software that looks at several different filters, including polarity (is the statement positive or negative?), intensity (what is the degree of emotion being expressed?) and subjectivity (how partial or impartial is the source?).

For example, a preponderance of adjectives often signals a high degree of subjectivity, while noun- and verb-heavy statements tend toward a more neutral point of view.

How are you tracking sentiments about your organization? Have you been able to strike a good balance between a rapid response and appropriate response (i.e. not over-reacting) ?

Mashups – anyone doing anything interesting?

By Phil Verghis on April 1, 2008

As part of a white paper I’m writing, I have been doing some research on ‘mashups’. (Web applications that combine data from multiple sources in one user interface.)

The idea behind mashups is simple. As anyone in IT can tell you, there are far more demands for their services than there is time available to get to them. No wonder people find corporate IT not moving fast enough for their needs, particularly if their needs are simple and highly situational. Enter mashups. The idea is that you can create simple ‘widgets’ where you combine content and services from within the corporation and out on the web to create new, simple applications. This can be created by the end user, not IT.

Two interesting mashup makers are available from IBM and Microsoft, called QEDwiki and PopFly respectively. If you don’t know what mashups are, check out the IBM video on YouTube, and the 30 second overview from Microsoft. Will give you a good idea of what is possible…

Are you using mashups to help your customers? Let me know how!

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