After a great start, with great positive reactions on Twitter, President Obama’s Middle East speech has become only a few days later a more controversial proposition, both for social media audiences and for newsmakers. According to Social Mention, a social media monitoring site, last week, for each negative twitter or similar microblogging message, there were were 15 positive ones, and for each negative news story, there were 6 positive ones. In the blogosphere, there were 4 positive posts for each negative one.
As the chart above indicates, only three days later the numbers have declined dramatically. For each negative Twitter and microblogging status update there are only two positive messages, and the same goes for news and blogs. (The overall score, which is 3-1 also takes into account sites such as YouTube, audio, bulletin boards, Q&A sites, etc.). Social mention data also indicates that the mass of neutral to positive or negative articles has increased. This means that the loss in positive comments is not necessarily due to a increased polarization, but due to a shift toward a more ponderate and possibly analytic position.
Eight days later, on May 28, the declining trend still holds overall. Twitter mentions are now almost even in terms of positive/negative mentions.
Social Mention harvests and interprets the “sentiments”–positive, neutral, or negative statements–embedded in social media messages. It does it by parsing each message into its component linguistic units (verbs, nouns, adjectives) and then by grouping them into semantic groups arranged along a positive to negative emotional scale. It is part of a new generation of social media analysis tools, which use linguistic processing for determining user emotional investment in the messages they put out.
Other similar sites include Opinion Crawl, Twitter Sentiment, or Twitter Weather. For example, the Twitter weather forecast maps sentiments on a weather scale of 1-100. The higher the value, the more positive the sentiment. Obama’s Middle East Speech as of Monday night was in the low 60s, after having raised to almost 80 degrees on Saturday.
Click on the image to redo the search for “obama middle east peace” to see what the current Twitter temperature for this topic is.
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