Sentiment vs. message in social media – which do you value more?

Scale of justice, close-upRecently I fell into a discussion about specific social media metrics (isn’t that so not like me?) and the concept of sentiment analysis was brought up. There have already been many discussions about the usefulness (or lack thereof) of automated sentiment analysis tools, and I won’t bore you with yet another discussion of whether automated sentiment is worth your while.

What I think is a more valid question: is the sentiment or the message more important to social media measurement?

I won’t pretend to have an answer, and I honestly don’t even know if I feel comfortable giving an opinion at this juncture. I will, however, assert that there is an obvious lack of discussion about messages in social media measurement. And that has got to stop.

While the message may not be as important as sentiment (or visa versa), both pieces still have a place in the mythical social media measurement equation. Before the balance or weighting of these two factors can be solidified, there are a few questions that need to be answered:

  1. How will messages be measured within social media content? How will they be counted?
  2. Will every key message be considered equal?
  3. Will only exact wordings of a specific key message be counted or considered?
  4. Will sentiment and message be considered for each post separately or in conjunction?
  5. How will these factors compare to things like reach and influence?

This topic is still so new and open to interpretation, and I’d be eager to know what your thoughts are. I’m also interested to hear if anyone else has even been thinking about message integration in social media measurement.

Have you thought beyond sentiment analysis? What are your thoughts on the importance of messages in measurement?

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