While I was blogging about the huge negative sentiment in the number of posts for Adam Lambert just before the American Idol results were announced, another company was using much better methodology, but showing a much smaller backlash in the making. Crimson Hexagon was featured on CNN (link to video) and showed true sentiment for the candidates – a lead for Adam Lambert over Kris Allen on a positive level, and a scant 3% negative impression for Adam Lambert with no real backlash at all for Kris.
Why did I, using a very rudimentary love/hate modifier with Vitrue’s Social Media Index, see a huge backlash in relative terms for Adam vs Kris while Crimson Hexagon saw a much smaller difference?
For one, my modifiers were rudimentary – there are many more ways to show whether you are strongly for, for, against or strongly against something. My sample was only a very small slice of the posts out there and the data in the Vitrue Social Media Index (SMI) isn’t designed to show positives and negatives.
But what the SMI does appear to have, that Crimson Hexagon does not, is Facebook data.
I’m a big fan of Crimson Hexagon’s methodology to defining user sentiment (see why I think automating post sentiment is such a critical component of managing social media). But without Facebook status and wall feeds as part of its data input, I believe it misses some critical understanding of real-time sentiment among the masses.
Yes, Twitter is part of the micro-blogging component of real-time sentiment, but I don’t think users are as addicted or connected to the medium as they are with Facebook. In general, I believe you say things among your friends (e.g. among Facebook circle and within the walled garden) that you may not want to broadcast from the top of a hill for all to hear (e.g. Twitter). I would also argue that Twitter is much more about gathering data (their founders mentioned it as more of an info dissemination tool) and reading for the great wave of newbies than it is about truly interacting with other users.
Thus to really get a feeling for real-time sentiment, Facebook is a critical component. I believe lacking the Facebook feeds contributed to Crimson Hexagon’s negative measures being more muted than what I saw with the Vitrue SMI, and illustrates why marketers need to understand the underlying inputs in any system or technology they choose to leverage to view real-time sentiment.