So today I realised it was Earth Hour. The event didn’t have much hype this year so I suppose you can forgive me for forgetting about it. The only reason I remembered it was because it came up on one of my frequented forums. I started looking back into the beginnings of the thread (now 4 years old) and realised that the representation for people in favour of Earth Hour was almost the same as the people that were adamantly against it. Now the other recent event that has the roughly even spread of people for and against is the Kony 2012 Social Media campaign, some people were all for it posting the link on their Facebook wall while others posted links to various blogs exposing the evils of Invisible Children.
Think about the different kind of people that do this, they are always the same aren’t they? Someone who posts the Kony 2012 video promoting it is more than likely aligned with Earth Hour, and the opposite is true for those that criticised Kony 2012. To sum it up, I have decided to put people into 3 different categories on a sliding scale, Positive, Neutral and Negative. This is often the 3 key areas that sentiment analysis focuses on, however each ‘post’ has its own different sentiment. What if sentiment were linked more than we thought due to the process most humans go through called Binary Thinking. Sometimes this is known as left and right, sometimes its the ALP or LNP, sometimes its capitalism vs communism, all these issues and and an individuals stance towards them shows how binary they are in their thinking, and if theres one advantage to thinking in binary it’s that it makes it easier to predict peoples behaviour.
You see another form of binary thinking is crowd behaviour, some people will naturally ‘go with the flow’ of current media trends, while others will attempt to buck them at every turn. As an example, I have a friend that loathes Earth Hour, hates the Kony 2012 campaign and vilifies anything that Apple do. This is very predictable behaviour, all you have to do is identify which way social media is trending and it is certain that he will do the opposite, and the same can be said for people who always try to fit in with the crowd. Now something I haven’t discussed here is neutrality, some people are not binary in their thinking patterns and tend to sway either way, or not announce their opinion at all. Unfortunately this prediction method will not work for them (although you could say that you could predict their unpredictability).
In summary, by identifying whether social action is positive, neutral or negative, and then identifying whether a user is talking about the social action in a positive, neutral or negative manner, you can predict their reactions to other social action. Isn’t it fortunate the Western Society assigned itself to Dualism long ago?