ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing has good documentary on the growing practice of ‘sentiment mining’ social media networks where companies attempt to glean emotional reactions or consumer opinions – typically to products – from our spontaneous internet output.
Essentially it’s a form of text mining but applied to social media. For example, a specialist agency might scan for every mention of a product online over the last month and then apply custom analysis to draw out what people feel about it.
This is known as sentiment analysis and it is a booming industry in online marketing which numerous services having recently sprung into existence.
The programme discusses this technology exclusively in terms of marketing and business but military intelligence are also becoming interested in the technology, as news that the CIA recently bought into a social media analysis company indicates.
Link to ABC Radio documentary on ‘sentiment mining’.