Twitter Sentiment to Light Up London’s Ferris Wheel

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The London Eye, that city’s famous Ferris wheel, will become a giant mood ring, projecting England’s Twitter-based sentiment about the upcoming Olympic Games.

EDF Energy, a utility in that country, has enlisted “the UK’s foremost expert on Twitter sentiment analysis,” Mike Thelwall, and Sosolimited, a team of MIT graduates with expertise in linguistic analysis, to interpret UK-based tweets that reference the Olympics. The group will scan Twitter for tweets including phrases like “Olympics,” “Torch Relay,” “#energy2012” and “London 2012.” Then, a sentiment algorithm will determine the amount of positive and negative emotion contained in the message. The prevailing sentiment will be reflected in the color of the lights on the London Eye during a nightly 30-minute light show during the games: Yellow is positive, green is neutral and purple is negative.

The UK team isn’t the first to try to use Twitter as a gauge of the country’s mood: Last year at this time, Kraft’s Jell-O brand ran an online and outdoor campaign called the Jell-O Pudding Face Mood Meter that featured a man whose face was either smiling or frowning based on how many smile and frown emoticons were on Twitter.

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