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Monday, August 11, 2008

Vocus helps companies adjust to new media


To appreciate the power of the new media, think of the blogosphere and social networking world as a dam, lined with many cracks. Obviously, every crack has the potential to become a major leak, and it' s virtually impossible to devote equal attention to each one. You may focus on the wrong area, and before you know it,you suffer a devestating flood of negative press.

Until the 2000s, executives only had to monitor the four major TV news networks and about 10-20 major daily  publications (NY Times, Wall Street Journal,USA Today). Obviously, that's all changed, thanks to the new media.

As social networks,blogs and other online media become increasingly relevant to modern business, PR companies such as Vocus are bridging the media gap for CEO's and company leaders.

Most companies don't have the time or manpower to track blogs and networks all day, and that's where Vocussteps in. Vocus spreads your name to the top bloggers and news sites, but it also offers Sentiment Analysis, a tool that tracks press, positive or negative, regarding your company-  in real time. Reports are offered in graph form,for easy and instant insight into your company's current image.I interviewed sales executive Joshua K. Gondwe, who outlined the tool's features.

You can render reports that show- are you getting a positive zone on these articles or negative?  You can print out a report with graphs and insight to see what publications are saying. You can see how people are talking about you and how they view you, and your customers are ultimately paying your salary. 

For those CEOs and leaders who aren't familiar with the background, rhetoric and tone of blogs and social networks, Vocus advises a personal approach toward new media and explains the differences between the traditional methods of PR and today's new challenges.

We try to educate them on the fact that bloggers are real people. They care about specific issues and want you to understand them before you approach them.

What does this evolved form of PR signify? It validates what we already suspected- that over time, your online reputation, whether it comes from USA Today or a random blogger in Boston, can morph into one of your biggest assets, or one of your heaviest liabilities.

By Matt O'Hern at 09:39 AM | Comments (3)

(3) Thoughts on Vocus helps companies adjust to new media

Be very careful in writing about claims of sentiment analysis. Unless (and this is a big unless) they are using actual humans to read each instance of apparently negative/positive commentary the sentiment is only a very rough indicator. No algorithm, NLP or other machine reading analysis can be very accurate with today's technology. Machines are simply not good at context semantics, sarcasm, irony, etc.
When I talk to people about our sentiment analysis I'm very careful to make this clear. It is just an indicator until you drill down on a granular level to make the determination yourself.

Comments by Martin Edic : Monday, August 11, 2008 at 12:49 PM

One more thing: my note above and our experience is based on performing sentiment analysis on over 500 million social media search results of all types over the past six months.

Comments by Martin Edic : Monday, August 11, 2008 at 12:51 PM

For disclosure, I am the Director of Product Management at Vocus, but want to highlight that NLP and automated sentiment analysis is certainly a useful tool for those looking at trending and real time analysis.

We found that people who are looking for up to date analysis in real time, were comfortable with NLP technology that provided 80% accuracy. For those that time is critical and not able to wait until weeks or months end for human analysis, being able to see a trend throughout the day or over any period of time, this is a great approach.

I completely agree with Martin in that if you are looking to send an article straight to your CEO that has been analyzed by an engine thinking it is a positive article, you would certainly want to review it before hand. But I have also seen articles reviewed by humans that should have also been reviewed before being sent as well to save embarrassment.

While it is not able to detect sarcasm and irony, the one thing it can do is be consistent in analysis. A sentiment engine does not show up for work in a bad mood or get tired through out the day, so if you are looking for high level analysis that is consistent, NLP analysis is a great tool to do the major leg work for you.

Comments by Kye Strance : Monday, August 11, 2008 at 03:44 PM

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