Blog: How Am I Feeling Today? Just Take a Look at my Browsing History.
Originally published in February 2014.
Not exactly digital surveillance, but not a million miles away, sentiment analysis, or opinion mining, is currently one of the trending research areas in computer science and promises to offer companies and organisations a proverbial gold mine of data related to how their customers feel about their product or service. It works by analysing the opinions of thought leaders and ordinary people in addition to the decision-making process of people affected by those opinions.
Typically, when a person wants to buy a product or service they perform a certain amount of research online whether that be expert research, customer feedback or peer influence. Sentiment analysis provides the ability to monitor the different sites where content is generated by users, particularly social sites, in real time and act accordingly based on the desired sentiment.
Marketing, PR and politicians should be paying particular attention to sentiment analysis being generated through platforms such as Twitter in order to truly define how their audience is feeling. This could be in relation to how many :) or :( are being used in conjunction with associated Twitter handles or perhaps just the context of comments made about a particular product, brand or person.
With prior consent and opt in a must for this type of digital surveillance, I feel this is a positive step towards providing particularly parents with the tools they need to preempt any antisocial behaviour and intervene where necessary. Although it should be stipulated that this is not a replacement for parental vigilance it could be the difference between detecting early signs of difficulty related to the emotional state of a impressionable teen and tragic loss.