Government Seeks Sentiment Analysis on Its PR Efforts

September 6, 2016

Sentiment analysis is taking off — government agencies are using it for PR purposes. Next Gov released a story, Spy Agency Wants Tech that Shows How Well Its PR Team Is Doing, which covers the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s request for information about sentiment analysis. The NGA hopes to use this technology to assess their PR efforts to increase public awareness of their agency and communicate its mission, especially to groups such as college students, recruits and those in the private sector. Commenting on the bigger picture, the author writes,

The request for information appears to be part of a broader effort within the intelligence community to improve public opinion about its operations, especially among younger, tech-savvy citizens. The CIA has been using Twitter since 2014 to inform the public about the agency’s past missions and to demonstrate that it has a sense of humor, according to an Nextgov interview last year with its social media team. The CIA’s social media director said at the time there weren’t plans to use sentiment analysis technology to analyze the public’s tweets about the CIA because it was unclear how accurate those systems are.

The technologies used in sentiment analysis such as natural language processing and computational linguistics are attractive in many sectors for PR and other purposes, the government is no exception. Especially now that CIA and other organizations are using social media, the space is certainly ripe for government sentiment analysis. Though, we must echo the question posed by the CIA’s social media director in regards to accuracy.

Megan Feil, September 6, 2016
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