Sentiment Analysis Symposium 2014

This week, I was lucky enough to cover the seventh annual Sentiment Analysis Symposium, led by Seth Grimes and hosted at the New York Academy of Sciences. The two-day conference opened with a day of workshops before launching into the main lineup on Thursday.

As the name might suggest, the Sentiment Analysis Symposium sought to answer questions regarding analysis of human emotions, sentiments, and customer engagement. Without proper analysis of consumer sentiment, brands are merely guessing in their marketing and outreach. With successful sentiment analysis, researchers stay ahead of the game, anticipating consumer needs and responding to any issues that arise.

The conference looked into the themes of vision, application, expertise, and innovation as they applied to the emerging field of sentiment analysis and human analytics. A recurring theme throughout the day was the need for sentiment analysis to move beyond just measuring the valence of social media (designating text/emotion as positive or negative) and establishing a more complex review process that takes into account polarity, intensity, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sarcasm.

As conference organizer Seth Grimes wrote, “Technology that forces and flattens sentiment into a polarity score is sacrificing much, or most, of the richness of human expression.” Multiple speakers also pointed out the need for analysis of a long-term dynamic, rather than just static reactions. It is for this reason that video analysis of faces and emotions are so much more effective than static images.

In the space of nine hours, we heard talks on everything from how to identify customer intent (as opposed to just passive customer opinions) to how to extract trading signals from investor sentiment. Speakers came from many different areas of the field, drawing on their expertise in industry, marketing, academia and more. From theoretical analysis of human motivation to the very real task of clearing comment spam in Huffington Post articles, the Sentiment Analysis Symposium provided a broad overview of the current state of sentiment analysis and human analytics.

Check out the following posts for a closer look at some of these great talks:

Did you attend the Sentiment Analysis Symposium? What was your favorite session? Learn anything new or eye opening? Let us know in the comments!