I attended the first Sentiment Analysis Symposium in NYC last week and thought it all came off reasonably well. It was interesting how the show really broke down into two very distinct schools of thought. There were the reputation management and social media monitoring folks that were by and large unhappy with the state of the technology. Then there were all of us technologists that were trying to suggest that there are better uses for sentiment than just in reputation management. It was also quite entertaining to watch folks (myself included) try and give a useful and informative talk in 5 minutes, but the "lightning talks" did move right along and showed how far the industry has come. So, on my original question, can sentiment stand on its own? My take on this before this show would have been that sentiment can't stand up by itself as a singular topic of discussion, but given what I saw at the show, and the tremendous amount of traction we've gotten with the BBC around political sentiment I may be proven wrong. There suddenly seems to be a ton of interest in sentiment in a wide variety of different industries and applications, for example:
- Financial Services: Sentiment scored news for algorithmic trading
- Customer satisfaction monitoring of customer feedback data
- Political campaign monitoring
- Scoring of hotel reviews
Automated sentiment will never be the equal of human scored sentiment, but its closer than most people realize. When pointed at the right sort of problems (for example, trends in high volumes of data) it provides something humans just can't match.