By Anna Hodge
Insight is central to any decision. Whether it’s where to go to dinner or the platform to focus on in a political campaign, information and insights are crucial to making the best choice. Now, imagine if you could get insights in real-time. How might you use them to make better decisions?
That’s the idea behind IBM’s Social Sentiment technology, developed by IBM Brazil. The technology examines in real-time what is being posted on social networks. From this, we are able to learn from the things people are saying – good, bad and indifferent – about any given topic, company, person, idea, trend, etc. The technology was originally piloted by IBM Brazil Research which used it to analyze more than 10 million tweets during the 2013 FIFA Confederate Cup. The sentiment-sifting technology is now analyzing social media sentiment during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The technology analyzes posts looking at various angles, including slang, sarcasm and colloquial language. The posts, in Portugese for example, are captured by a high-tech system with artificial intelligence that is trained to learn to interpret whether posts are positive, negative or neutral. The information is then provided to a manager or, in the case of the World Cup, a coach via their smart phone.
Having the social analytics on hand, in real-time, has the potential to affect our decisions, making them, if nothing else, more thoughtful. For example, consider the impact it will have on political campaigns, plots of soap operas, company brands, concert line-ups, and even government policy.
As the plethora of social platforms gain increasing prominence around the world, so too will the value of understanding the messages emanating from them.
After all, reactions from fans or customers are crucial to the ultimate success of brands. Getting those reactions instantly, could be a game-changer. For example, a TV producer looking to create an ongoing series is very interested in gauging and understanding the reactions of the show’s viewers. But such sentiments provided instantly could play a direct role in influencing existing plot lines, as well as those in future seasons.
In the same way an organization wants to monitor its status on Wall Street, Social Sentiment technologies enable companies to gauge how they’re being perceived socially. As much as a politician wants to win an election, the sentiments of his or her constituency are just as important, and can be monitored in real time.
To be sure, the Social Sentiment technology has the potential to move from the soccer pitch to the board room. With insights gained from real-time access toboth negative and positive feedback from millions of people, decision makers will be empowered to make not just the right decisions, but the best ones.