British scientists have developed a computer program they say can map the mood of the nation using Twitter. The program is called Emotive, it works by accessing the emotional content of postings on the social networking site through algorithms and scenarios.
The team, from Loughborough University, say it can scan up to 120,000 tweets a minute and rate them for expressions of one of eight human emotions.
They claim Emotive could help calm civil unrest and identify early threats to public safety. Whether they can be used to measure the markets and economy of the country then we will have something to watch out for. However as the nation’s buying trend is also based on public mood then perhaps we are not far off using predictive measurements to enable supply and demand.
The team, from the university’s Centre for Information Management, say the system can extract a direct expression of anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame and confusion from each tweet.
Dr Ann O’Brien, who was part of the team that created the study for emotions used by the programme, said it could chart the strength of feeling expressed in both ordinary language and in slang.
“For any incident we can view how reactions grow and diminish over time,” she said.
The system is currently only being used to analyse tweets in the UK, but the researchers said it could easily be scaled up to monitor tweets globally.
More than 500 million people across the world use Twitter, and more than 340 million tweets are posted daily.