How to understand sentiment from analysing big data

dilbertdataBecause analysis and interpretation of behaviours online is a big part of what my firm WCG does for its living, I pay attention to new ideas and different thinking on how to zero in on what you need from data when there is more stuff bombarding you every day. Analysing data is one thing: converting your findings into actionable insights is another. Getting meaning aka sentiment analysis is a major Holy Grail.

ReadWriteWeb has a terrific report on BigSheets, a tool created by IBM that takes terabytes or even petabytes of web data and turns it into information that provides business intelligence, focusing on what it can do for analysing data from Twitter.

[...] it can run streams of Twitter data for days, weeks or even months on particular keywords. That data can then be mashed up with internal information.

To demonstrate its capabilities, IBM Evangelist David Barnes created an excellent demonstration video that shows how Twitter can be mined for sentiment about the iPhone, BlackBerry or Android mobile smartphones.

Barnes showed how the tool mined Twitter for tweets that mentioned the smartphone terms: iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. He then tracked the tweets for sentiment. Do people like, love or hate the products? Do they want to buy the products?

The tool can also be used to track multiple web sites for hours, days, weeks or months.

During the video, Barnes mined the Twitter stream for three minutes using the smartphone keywords. He had previously ran a query for 36 hours to demonstrate how the data can be used. It pulled 305,000 tweets into the application.

Fascinating. You can apply any keywords and run the analysis. Any tool that automates such a complex process so that you get valuable information you can use for actionable insights has to be a Good Thing.

More at ReadWriteWeb.

About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.