Govt determines public sentiments in social media

Published on April 20, 2015 12:30:30 PM
Technology
To gauge the mood of people on social media, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has begun relying on "sentiment analysis" of people's responses on such websites to judge their perceptions on various issues. Sources said that the government believes that merely keeping track of the amount of traffic on social media may not be enough as the real detail may lie in the quality of posts. So, it is not just the number of online responses, but whether they are "positive, negative or neutral" that the New Media Wing of the I&B ministry tries to analyze as part of its "sentiment analysis".

"The government believes that merely keeping track of the amount of traffic on social media may not be enough as the real detail may lie in the quality of posts. So, it is not just the number of online responses, but whether they are "positive, negative or neutral"

The I&B ministry is mandated to communicate the government's policies to the public and collect feedback. The sources said that the content of blogs, message boards, microblogs, etc. are analyzed to understand the larger picture as to what is really on the mind of those online. Apart from flagship programmers’, the initiatives and visits of the Prime Minister abroad and important current issues are among the subjects on which the New Media Wing prepares its reports.

Asked about the analysis of social media posts, I&B secretary Bimal Julka only said that the government realizes the importance of social media for dissemination of information and also to collect feedback from the masses. However, the sources said the New Media Wing, which was created as the government realized the importance of social media, is now doing a detailed and scientific "reach-based sentiment analysis" to ascertain what the buzz is online.

Giving an insight into the process, a source said that "sentiment analysis" of several flagship programmers’ or schemes of the government had been done and it showed the quantum and direction of interest they generated. "For instance, comparative analysis showed there were over 3 lakh posts related to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with a social media reach of up to 52.06 crore. "Of these, 53 per cent of the responses were positive in sentiment, 5 per cent negative and the rest neutral," the source said.
PTI