You've heard of sentiment analysis of social media. Now, get ready for sentiment analysis of messages directed at you.
We're not sure if Lorraine Chambers ever sported a mood ring, but the Master's student at the University of Portsmouth has created an app that color-codes messages so before reading them, users can get an indication of the message's tone, and perhaps get a heads up on if they’ll feel better or worse for having read them. As you might expect, green is for positive, red is for negative and blue is for neutral.
"The ultimate objective of this application is to make the user aware of the negative contents they receive so they are able to manage their stress in the best possible way,” comments Mohamed Gaber, senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth's School of Computing.
"For example, if most of what is received from social media websites by a user on a particular day was negative, it is important that the user attempts to take an action in order to not get stressed, especially if this may affect the individual's performance at work and/or their behaviour at home."
The app (only for Android phones so far) warns users of negative, angry messages from Twitter, Facebook or texts, or contrariwise, heightens anticipation of good news. The technology is based on a desktop equivalent developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology, and analyzes the sentiment of the message itself.
Chambers and Gaber cite state-of-the-art “sentiment analysis” technology as classifying textual input on the fly. "The rate of growth in this area has never been witnessed - everything from Twitter streams and Facebook messages to direct text messages are coming straight at us all the time on our handheld devices,” adds Gaber.
"This information has an immense power — whether we are reading a worrying social media news story or a warning email from our manager, messages can upset mood and increase stress level, just as good news and encouraging emails can cheer you up.”
The Stress @ Work app will be presented at a conference in Spain in September.
Gives new meaning to forewarned is forearmed — and to “I’m feeling blue.”