Have you watched a movie in the last 15 minutes? Have you reviewed it yet? On Twitter? For an increasing number of Twitter users, the answer to that question (which question?) is yes, and a free site now summarizes their instant movie reviews for us.
At last night's Triangle Tweetup, Chad Etzel (@jazzychad) showed his new project, Twitter Movie Reviews. The utterly descriptive name—how non-2.0!—tells it all. TMR pulls tweets mentioning current movies from the public timeline and graphs the balance of sentiment.
The main page summarizes all of the reviews in the system. A more detailed view for each movie lists all of the tweets, grouped into good, bad and indifferent categories. RSS feeds abound, making it easy to monitor the rated tweets for any given movie.
Human analysis, increasing automation
The primary method of categorizing the reviews is human analysis. Volunteer moderators read the individual tweets and rate them as good, bad or indifferent (Chad's looking for more volunteers, if you want to help). From the demo, the process appeared quick and easy. Considering the subject matter, finding volunteers shouldn't be too hard, at least as long as the site is free.
An automated prescreening system eliminates non-review mentions of movies (going to see, waiting in line, want to see), and some keywords trigger automated ratings. More automation is planned.
My first reaction to this is that I'll probably use it to look up movies I'm considering. There's an apparent positive bias in review tweets, but a quick glance at the full text can provide useful hints as to why people like a movie (or don't). Naturally, if you have a business interest in movies, this is another site to monitor. If you have an entertainment site, you might want to talk with Chad before someone else does.
Opinions are everywhere; tools are democratizing
It's interesting that this isn't a product or feature from a company in a social media or data mining business. It's a project from a software developer who likes making things. So, besides a new place to look up movies, here's what I got from the demo:
- Opinions are everywhere. Anywhere that people can express themselves online, they will eventually start talking about things they buy. It doesn't matter if you want to care about Twitter (for example); if your customers are using it, you need to pay attention. Monitoring social media is a task that will grow as long as new social applications are being created.
- For someone with programming skills, barriers to entry for creating new sites are nonexistent. Human coding of the reviews eliminates the hard part of building an analytical site and gets the ball rolling (but will be hard to sustain if the service becomes commercial). The initial version proves the concept and supports further development.
- Free tools for analyzing content and trends mean that the forest is no longer hidden in the trees. If the public has access to sentiment metrics and begins to consider them in their purchase decisions, is it possible for companies not to care?
- New sites that provide open APIs will eventually be mined for useful information, which will be available to the public. If your product is interesting to software developers, it will happen sooner.
- Has anyone considered a consumer-oriented social media analysis site? One that explains itself to a non-technical, non-business audience?
Update: The site now has a name and domain: FlixPulse.