Saturday, May 10, 2008

Agnostic evaluation of media content

Pietro Perugino's usage of perspective in this fresco at the Sistine Chapel (1481 82) helped bring the Renaissance to Rome.Image via Wikipedia

This weekend, I have been playing with a sentiment engine and thinking about people's perspectives.

This one does not take sides. It is agnostic. It decides if a press story is positive or negative from a neutral perspective.

All you do is past text into a box and it analyses the content as positive or negative and shows the structure of sentences that leads to this conclusion.

You can try it here.

The returns it makes is an academic minefield. It challenges your thinking about truth.

It has a first cousin, that can add perspectives. For example, it can make similar decisions from the perspective of the actors (company, person brand etc) which is why it was invented but the returns with no perspective are very interesting.

Sometimes this programme gets it wrong but not often.

It is able to glean content that is negative but which contributes to the positive side of the article and you can see how it does it.

I have tried news articles, book chapters, reports and even client presentations to see where the sentiment lies.

So where is the beef?

This kind of development is useful for analysing sentiment of news articles, blogs and other content, which is its primary purpose but it also has applications in evaluating style and and bias all of which are very useful to the PR industry, regulators and watchers of political sentinemt on and off line.

Try it out and be challenged.