2 Twitter Tools to Manage Your Sentiment Rating

Original Post: Sentiment Analysis: How Do People Feel About You On Twitter?

Do you know how people feel about you on Twitter? Are the tweets about you or your product mostly positive, negative or neutral? While things like feelings and sentiment can seem fuzzy and “touchy-feely,” there are sentiment analysis tools available for Twitter that attempt to classify tweets into either positive, negative or neutral categories automatically using algorithms and lists of keywords. For example, using words like “sucks,” “sad” and “hate” would be classified as negative, while “awesome,” “great” and “love” would be positive, with a neutral rating given to anything not falling into one of the other two categories.
As you can probably guess, the results from sentiment analysis tools vary widely, with many tweets ending up in the wrong category. Each tool is only as good as the list of keywords and the algorithms it uses, and they are easily confused by imperfect human beings who send mixed signals into their algorithms. For example, this tweet from @PDXrox was classified by one tool as positive and negative by another, based on confusion over using both “dang” and “:(” while also using the word “love:”
“Dang! Both @backfencepdx and @igniteportland have scheduled their events for the same night – Nov 19th. I love them both – wah! :-(“
You have a few options for sentiment analysis. If you are doing work for a company with budget for analysis tools, you should seriously think about purchasing a tool like Techrigy’s SM2, Scout Labs or other social media monitoring packages with sentiment analysis, since they have more robust features than some of the free tools. For those of us doing personal monitoring or working at small companies with limited budgets, there are some free tools that you can use to get at least a rough idea of how people feel about you or your products and services.
twendz is certainly the best free tool that I used, which isn’t really surprising since it was created by Waggener Edstrom, a large public relations firm with a vested interest in having accurate sentiment analysis for its clients. It handled my complex search query with ease when other tools did not, and it constantly updates in the browser window with new tweets. It also has some really nice features, including sentiment summary per tag and the ability to see exactly which tweets are positive or negative overall or for each tag.
I have some fundamental issues with twitrratr: It doesn’t handle complex searches; it doesn’t pick up new tweets very quickly and it doesn’t have additional analysis by tag or other parameters. However, I like how you can easily see at a glance the tweets that are positive, negative and neutral with words highlighted to show you why the tweet was put in the positive or negative category.
As I mentioned before, these tools aren’t perfect. Any time you are dealing with human beings and our imprecise languages, there will be plenty of opportunities for putting tweets into the wrong categories. However, sentiment analysis does provide a starting point and a rough idea for assessing how you people feel about you or your product.