Energy Industry Use of Sentiment Analysis

Companies don’t rely solely on sentiment analysis to inform strategic decisions, but it is a powerful complement to traditional market intelligence. Like many things in the social data ecosystem, sentiment is a rapidly evolving tool. While challenges like accurately identifying and classifying  irony, sarcasm, and emoticons exist, companies are meeting that challenge with increasingly sophisticated, Twitter syntax-specific tools.

IHS, a leading analysis and information provider–and one we’re excited to announce as a new Plugged In partner–built a sentiment intelligence tool to facilitate its clients’ use of social data. This past summer, IHS released the U.S. Sentiment Index, a tool that assess realtime Tweets, providing a representation of the average mood of the United States.

We were curious to learn more about how sentiment analysis is being used across industries not typically known for their use of social data. IHS shared an example of how companies, in this case in the oil and gas industry, incorporated sentiment analysis to provide a deeper understanding of public opinion on hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking.” IHS looked at the sentiment of fracking-related Tweets globally, as well as in specific states like Colorado.  Analysis determined in which states the most Tweets about fracking originated and what keywords are most commonly associated with the topic. Both of these things contribute to the companies’ understanding of the drivers of public sentiment on the topic of fracking–valuable information.

To expose another layer of insight, IHS used network analysis to understand and measure the virality of messages. One of the takeaways from the research was that the content of a message is not as important as understanding which voices influence the dissemination of that message. Further, the number of followers an influencer has was not as important as whether one of those followers retweeted the message outside the influencer’s immediate circle of followers. These are just a few highlights from a more in-depth paper we wrote.

Social Data Mashups Following Natural Disasters

Exactly what role can social data play in natural disasters?

We collaborated with Gnip Plugged In partner, Alteryx, to do data mashups around FEMA relief related to Hurricane Sandy for a recent presentation at the Glue Conference. Alteryx makes it easy for users to solve data analysis problems and make decisions.

Gnip and Alteryx created a data mashup for Hurricane Sandy using six different data sources showing what kinds of tools we can create after natural disasters. Starting with mapping from TomTom, the data mashup also included data about businesses from Dun & Bradstreet, demographic data from Experian, registrations from FEMA, geotagged articles from Metacarta, and geotagged Tweets from Gnip.  We concentrated on FEMA efforts and reactions during spring 2013.

This kind of data mashup allows us to drill down into multiple aspects of evacuation zones. One of the easiest examples of this mashup is the ability to see what services and resources are available from businesses (from Dun & Bradstreet) while complimentary official efforts are organized.

FEMA Hurricane Sandy Maps

Or it can help prioritize which areas to assist first by mashing population densities with registrations from FEMA.

FEMA Hurricane Sandy Registrations

FEMA Hurricane Sandy Density Map

Using geotagged social data from Twitter is another way to identify areas that need help, as well as monitor recovering areas. Combining sentiment analysis with Tweets provides instant feedback on the frustrations or successes that constituents are feeling and seeing.

Hurricane Sandy Social Tweets

We think this type of data mashups with Alteryx is just the beginning of what is possible with social data. If you have questions or ideas for data mashups, leave it in the comments!

Building the Location Layer of the Internet With Mike Harkey of Foursquare

Mike Harkey, the Head of Platform Business Development at Foursquare, talks about how Foursquare is building the location layer of the Internet. 

Mike Harkey of Foursquare

To kick things off at Big Boulder, Gnip’s VP of Product, Rob Johnson interviewed Mike Harkey. As the Head of Platform Business Development at Foursquare, Mike talked about the evolution of Foursquare during the past four years. First introduced as the “check-in app,” Foursquare is now becoming known for its location recommendation services.

 Merchant Applications

As Mike stated, “the company is growing dramatically.” Foursquare recently received $41 million in funding in April 2013, and that is certainly shaping their growth. From a consumer application, check-ins and active uniques have grown 10% every month. However, Foursquare is really focused on providing real world applications for merchants, whose use has quadrupled in the past 6 months.

Foursquare has always offered a free solution for merchants to claim their business and run offers and specials within the app. Users can also follow merchants to keep an eye on these offers. However, at the end of the day this won’t matter if a merchant can’t see what needle Foursquare is moving for them. Enter merchant dashboards: Through the merchant API, merchants can track the value and success of their media campaigns and how Foursquare is influencing them.

 The Location Layer

Just as Facebook is the social layer of the internet, Foursquare has built the location layer. With 4 billion check-ins and 50 million places worldwide, it’s not hard to see why this data is so valuable and practical. And there’s something that’s fundamentally unique about Foursquare, in their ability to see real-time actions.

Foursquare is the first to find out when a venue opens and closes. This signal is not only beneficial for the application, but also for 3rd party platforms that rely on them. Maintaining the quality of data when it’s user-based is challenging but Foursquare has learned which levers to pull. A community of super users have the rights to edit and update data to help to “vet and validate” its quality. This further fuels the consumer application of Foursquare.

Using the Data

Foursquare check-ins show the pulse of New York City and Tokyo from Foursquare on Vimeo.

Foursquare holds itself to a higher standard with its data. They believe this data is not just theoretical, but has practical, real-world applications. For merchants, this means validating their presence on the app – according to Mike, 20% of users check-in to a place discovered by the recommendation service within 36 hours of discovery.

Since the founding of the company, people have wanted to access the data Foursquare provides. The API has always been open, but Foursquare has wanted to be careful about allowing access to the data. Gnip’s partnership with Foursquare to allow access to its firehose has tremendous possibilities for businesses. Examples include how individual users act during specific events. During Hurrican Sandy, Foursquare released visualizations around how people operated during and after a crisis.

Globally, using this data for good has been a priority for Foursquare. In Turkey, there was activity they didn’t expect during the recent riots. They had representatives on the ground of the riots and could see users posting photos and information as this was the only viable mechanism to expose this information.

The Future of Foursquare

Foursquare believes the applications for this data are virtually limitless, whether it’s making the data available for research or business applications. Foursquare is excited to see what people will build with their anonymized data from its partnership with Gnip. Foursquare has a number of products will be introduced this year. Soon, small businesses will be able to advertise through Foursquare and make the most out of this service. They will have the ability to turn on and off offers and reach long-term consumers.

Big Boulder is the world’s first social data conference. Follow along at #BigBoulder, on the blog under Big BoulderBig Boulder on Storify and on Gnip’s Facebook page.

Data Story: Phil Harris of Geofeedia

Data Stories is Gnip’s ongoing series telling the stories of the people and companies that are doing groundbreaking work in social data. This week we’re interviewing Phil Harris, CEO of Geofeedia, a company that allows you to search and monitor social media by location. Geofeedia is a recent Gnip customer, and I love what they’re doing. The inherent value of Geofeedia was made clear to me when we received a media request looking for all social media that was geotagged close to the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Content + location creates powerful stories and Geofeedia is making it easier to find the right ones. 

1. What social data sources do you wish had geotagged data?
Our business is built on the fundamental premise of open source social data aggregation.  Or, I should say, every source. That said, there are currently major social data sources that provide public location data based on location identifier versus geotag. We will accommodate location id to integrate these data sources, but I strongly believe that over time, the benefits of more precise geo-location tagging on social media content will encourage these services to move towards geotagging. When they do, we’re exceptionally well positioned to translate that evolution into benefit for our clients.

2. If you’re a user, what do you think is the advantage of sharing your geodata?
We’ve barely scratched the surface of how geodata will deliver value to consumers. I believe the rapidly growing penetration of smartphones and adoption of geo-centric applications such as navigation will create a rich ecosystem of geo-data driven benefits. I am speaking with major consumer brands who believe that they will be able to create and maintain consumer relationships via location based social media in ways that will deliver significant value back to the individual user.

3. What can you find with Geofeedia that you can’t find on other platforms?
I know from analyzing our data with active customers that a significant amount of user generated content is missed by traditional keyword or hashtag centric monitoring tools. We complement these platforms to ensure relevant location based content is delivered to our customers in real-time.

4. Only a small portion of social media is geotagged, do you think this will change in the future?
I do. We’re seeing an increase every quarter, but as brands start rolling out compelling reasons for consumers to geotag their content, I believe geotagged social media will become the default.

5. How do you think Geofeedia will be used for good?
The leading businesses I’m speaking with consider Geofeedia as a tool to improve their overall customer experience. Understanding an individual social media conversation at a moment in time at a given location drastically improves the ways brands can serve their customers. Also, numerous public safety agencies are using Geofeedia to improve their ability to respond to natural disasters and other scenarios where real-time, location based social media awareness delivers great value.

6. How will real-time geo monitoring affect a brand’s ability to connect with their customers?

Like I said, the major brands with whom I’m speaking are evaluating how to improve their overall customer experience across all touch points – sales, customer service, loyalty – through real-time location based monitoring, analysis and engagement. I do believe that real-time, location based social media engagement will drastically improve a brand’s ability to have a meaningful, new type of relationship with their customers and become a de facto element of their communication mix.