Cher Lloyd tweet meme: sarcasm does not compute
We’ve had some interesting questions about our powerful approach to analysing content from the social web.
The questions came from the guys at wildfireapp.com and you can read them below, followed by our response.
How exactly are humans involved in your content analysis process? You say a human touch is a pretty key diversifier for you, and I’m hoping you can elaborate on that a bit more and how you anticipate scaling the human component.
How does your system deal with, for the lack of a better word, non-linear communication: sarcasm, double-entendres, etc? I know this has been a tricky issue in the past, and I’m wondering what, if anything, you have done to deal with that type of communication.
I guess the best way to answer these questions is for you to take a look at the image below.
It represents an analysis of Twitter content containing keywords related to P&G’s Max Factor cosmetic brand. If you look to the far left of the image (mid way up) you’ll see a thematic cluster that’s been annotated with an ‘exemplary’ text (coloured green), which reads:
“RT @katieweasel: Cher Lloyd spotted throwing a brick through the window of Superdrug Peckham and running off with two trolleys full of Max Factor foundation”
I’ll try and translate that for you…
Cher Lloyd (pictured above) is an X-Factor UK finalist and therefore a C-list celebrity, who’s also well known for wearing a lot of makeup. Back in August you may have heard the UK was rocked by a spate of civil disturbances or flash-mob riots that resulted in a lot of looting – a very broad swath of English society / social classes were involved in the trouble.
This tweet is making a joke within that context – it’s saying that an X Factor finalist (i.e. a paragon of our new ‘classless’ / ‘lacking class’ society) was spotted taking part in a riot and stealing two shopping carts full of Max Factor foundation crème from a popular store called Superdrug in riot-torn Peckham (South London).
The story,of course, isn’t true – it’s merely a sarcastic comment on Cher Lloyd’s excessive make-up wearing habits etc.
The virtue of our content analysis system is that we would never expect a computer to algorithmically understand all of that. Instead, we use the machine to break down the unstructured text content into key themes and topics (a ‘reporting’ process that is fast and highly scalable), in order to present to the human user a clear, qualitative summary of what’s being said by the community.
The user can then apply their judgement to what this information actually means, which is something we can’t rely on a computer to do for us.
Click on the image below (and then click again) to enlarge or click here to download a PDF.