Could sentiment analysis — the automated mining of attitudes, opinions, and emotions from text, speech, and database sources — have foretold the demise of Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak?
Can this fast-emerging technology and discipline predict the movement of Oracle’s share price based on online and social reactions to company and market news? Could it quantify reactions to Groupon’s widely panned SuperBowl ad and tell the ad-agency creative types what particular aspects viewers disliked? And in a more mundane, everyday application, could it identify product defects to help convert dissatisfied customers into promoters?
These are four of seven sentiment-analysis scenarios that I’ll describe, ways the technology can be (and is being) applied to derive insight from qualitative information sources.