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.


  1. I love your tool! It would be great to be able to put date ranges and see the development of a discussion over a specific period of time. I am interested in tracking health topics discussions on Twitter ... Google Update recently wrote that they will be making available and publicly searchable the entire archive of Twitter, would it be then possible to apply your tool on the whole archive ... I am not aware exactly how this works ..

  2. Dima, are you interested in the sentiment timeline of the entire Twitter archive, or do you want the individual positive and negative tweets to be highlighted in Google Real-Time search? The former is difficult because it requires access to the Twitter firehose, and Google having access to this wouldn't help us that much. The latter would be possible if we were to create a Google Chrome extension that you install on your browser. Let us know if you're interested in the latter.

  3. Perhaps I'm overlooking something obvious, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to access a timeline for any search I enter. I thought, perhaps, it would be a feature that would present itself after logging in with a Google account, but this doesn't seem to be the case either.

    Even clicking on the link to your example query doesn't give me the timeline shown in your image above. What am I missing? :)

  4. We disabled tracking over time because the costs were becoming too high. Please see this post: