I just wanted to link up a good article from Robert Scoble about his catching up with Mark Zuckerberg at Davos. The obviously talked about all things Facebook, but I was especially interested in their studying of ‘sentiment behavior’. Interesting concept. Its basically mapping what people are feeling (guessing by aggrigating the profile update feature).
**Facebook is, he told me, studying “sentiment” behavior. It hasn’t yet used that research in its public service yet, but is looking to figure out if people are having a good day or bad day. He said that already his teams are able to sense when nasty news, like stock prices are headed down, is underway. He also told me that the sentiment engine notices a lot of “going out” kinds of messages on Friday afternoon and then notices a lot of “hungover” messages on Saturday morning. He’s not sure where that research will lead. We talked about how sentiment analysis might lead to a new kind of news display in Facebook. Knowing whether a story is positive or negative would let Facebook pick a good selection of both kinds of news, or maybe even let you choose whether you want to see only “happy” news.
I think there’s a huge opportunity in using this data for tailoring news, understanding user behavior and being able to extrapolate that data into personalized marketing. For instance, maybe you should see ads on a Saturday morning for vitamins or medication, but not ads for alcohol (can beer companies even adverstise on Facebook????) if your profile status is ‘hungover’.
One downside I can see however which is an extension of blogging and RSS is that people can totally control all their content and their marketing messages (usually a plus), then will they make it so all the news, feeds, and content they consume agrees with their existing worldview. Does it then make it more difficult to reach people with opposing viewpoints…. Or does the sheer volume of information out there make it next to impossible to live in a digital bubble.
What do you think?