Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tracking sentiments on Twitter over time

The sentiment timeline on Twitter Sentiment is a very useful feature that allows you to track sentiments towards a particular query term over time. By default, Twitter Sentiment tracks sentiments for popular queries like "Google", "iPad", "Obama", etc. But you can add your own custom queries to track - For instance, I've been tracking the query "Indian Cricket Team" since May 17th (i.e. after the team's T20 World Cup debacle):

The timeline is helpful in two ways. First, it gives you an indication of how much buzz there is around the topic, i.e. how much it is being talked (tweeted) about. Secondly, it gives you an idea of the sentiment towards the topic.

As the graph above shows*, there was still some residual anger towards the team for a couple of days after the end of the world cup, but then it settled down for a while. On May 27 (PDT) however, there was a surge of negative tweets about the team, following their loss to Zimbabwe. Sentiments started improving (the positive line climbing up and the negative one coming down) on May 29 after their victory against Sri Lanka... but soon came the announcement about the Indian team not being sent to the Asiad and sentiments started being negative again on May 31. And as one can expect, it only grew worse after their second defeat (and a very embarrassing one) to Zimbabwe on June 2.

Update (12/28/2011): We temporarily disabled this feature. If you would like to track queries over time, please let us know by describing your use case, so that we know how to prioritize this feature.