Monday, November 2, 2009

Are hashtags an useful barometer of sentiment?

Everybody knows the impact Twitter had during Iran elections and also during the Mumbai Terror attacks last year. To many the tweets following #Iran elections and #Mumbai represented real news and not just real-time news (I guess, anything is better than the screaming banshees of news channels)

There is also one more use. Sometimes a quick read of tweets pertaining to a ‘hashtag’ can be an indicator of trends or sentiment. Just yesterday my 13-year old niece wanted some help for an essay on wildlife. #wildlife gave me a quick summary on the topic which was not way off the mark. The links provided the support.

Even a mild curiosity is easily addressed by following a ‘hashtag’ tweet-stream, like this one on Gold. A quick run-through of the tweets told me that ‘gold is Gold’ (Couldn’t help the corny comment!)

I do not know whether the sentiment one unearths from ‘hashtags’ are momentary or whether they can stand the scrutiny of experts. However, there is no doubt in my mind that they are a barometer, a quick and useful one at that.

Any thoughts?

(Image courtesy: marc.benton)

No comments:

Post a Comment