Jason Falls‘ recent post on new analytics entrant Sentiment360 and the human advantage that they bring to the table resulted in a flurry of comments from experts within the social media analytics industry. Sentiment360 is definitely on to something and industry insiders are beginning to take note.

But questions remain as to why it makes sense (which I believe it does, by the way) to hire humans to analyze sentiment as opposed to relying solely on computer algorithms which have been shown to be less reliable than humans.

One insider asking some very good questions – and providing intriguing answers too – is Zoe Siskos, who, in a comment on Jason’s blog, referenced a recent study she co-authored with five of her colleagues from Syncapse Corporation‘s Measurement Science Team. I’m not going to go into all the details here (it was a brilliantly conceived, well-designed and highly scientific study) but here are the conclusions I came to (slightly different than what the authors came to):

1. Ambiguity in the instructions given from CMOs to human analysts need to be crystal clear to prevent tonality scores that are competely inaccurate.

2. Unambiguous instructions will be much easier to formulate if your enterprise has clear business goals that tie directly into what Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group insightfully referred in a special report as the 5Ms and the 18 Social Uses Cases.

CMOs and Service Providers: What do you think: Are human analysts worth hiring for sentiment analytics or not? How is your company dealing what sentiment analytics? Are you using only auto sentiment analysis? Only human? A combination? Not at all?

Photo Credit: Second Life Resident Torley LindenVisit Ambleside.

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