Introducing multilingual sentiment and text analytics

After months of development and great feedback from our private beta testers, Repustate is happy (and relieved) to release to the public multilingual sentiment and text analytics. Using the existing API and/or client libraries, you can now analyze text in languages other than English. At first, the languages Repustate supports are:

  • German
  • French and
  • Spanish

Arabic is in private testing and will be released shortly.

The Repustate Analytics Dashboard will soon be updated to support these multiple languages so you can monitor, analyze and report on social media activity in multiple languages simultaneously. We’re also introducing a correction API call. If you use our sentiment API and feel that a result is incorrect, tell us! Simply send us the same text back with the result you think it should be and our algorithm will learn, evolve, and improve over time.

Where does social media stand in the world of healthcare?

A new study from business services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers has found that pharmaceutical and healthcare brands lag behind other business when it comes to taking advantage of growth opportunities available through social media channels.

The study found the industry’s executives are behind in social media use when compared to their customers. Out of 124 executives interviewed, half expressed worries about how they were going to integrate social media into their business strategy. Those leaders also weren’t sure how to prove the return on investment, according to the study.

Out of 1,060 consumers that PwC polled, about 42 percent read health-related user reviews on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Thirty-two percent of those polled said they accessed information which concerned the health experiences of friends and family. Twenty-nine percent looked for social media users who had had an illness similar to their own, and 24 percent looked at videos and photos uploaded from people currently suffering from a similar illness.

Kelly Barnes, PwC’s US health industries leader, said, “The power of social media for health organizations is in listening and engaging with consumers on their terms. Savvy adopters are viewing social media as a business strategy, not just a marketing tool.”

A few more key stats from the survey included:

-28% of users supported health-related causes on the web

-24% uploaded comments giving details about their own health status

-16% posted reviews of medication

-15% mentioned health insurers.

The study showed that health brands would see huge benefits to creating and monitoring social media channels because 43% of users said they would be likely to share positive experiences about a brand of medication they used, and 38 percent said they would share negative opinions, giving a transparent view of medication effectiveness for anyone interested.

Seventy percent of the social media users expected a response from an inquiry on a healthcare company’s social media channels to come back within 24 hours, and 66 percent expected the same response time for a complaint about goods or services.

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Social media users had one of their first digital interactions with medical world in February 2009 when Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI became one of the first hospitals to allow a procedure to be live-Tweeted from within the operating room. Used as a sort of real-time textbook, other doctors, medical students and anyone else who was curious could follow along as surgeons gave updates on a kidney surgery that removed a cancerous tumour.

While not as directly profitable as a healthcare brand using social media, such procedures can generate excitement for the hospital or medical organization, especially when they look to raise money during fundraising campaigns or attract new patients.

New social media site offers life lessons

A new up-and-coming social media site focuses on storytelling and sharing life lessons. Branding itself as a mix between Oprah and Wikipedia, Cowbird was created by San-Francisco based artist Jonathan Harris, 32.

Harris told the Toronto Star that his team is trying to create a place that is “a repository for the world’s wisdom, knowledge and experience.” It’s a “library for human experiences” that allows users to write about something they feel passionately about, or a life lesson.

Users have to request an invite to join the site and when invited, they can contribute by uploading a photo accompanied by the story in a text format, with the option of adding audio to the story.

Stories come in a myriad of topics divided grouped together into categories such as sounds, haircuts, sports and sadness. Users can type a requested topic into a searchbar or search through general topics including stories (how we live), people (who we are), timeline (when it was) and places (where we go).

Twelve-thousand users have already joined the site and Harris and his team (made up of Annie Correal, a journalist based in New York and Dave Lauer, a systems engineer in New Jersey) are now looking to create revenue for the site without turning to advertising.

“Facebook and Twitter are mechanisms that channels people’s attention to other things…to links and lists. Cowbird doesn’t share links. It’s a place for creators rather than just a place for lists of cool stuff,” said Harris.

Harris previously created We Feel Fine in 2005, a search-engine type website which focuses on documenting human emotions by searching the blogosphere for phrases about feelings, ie. “I feel,” and saving and displaying them in an artistic way.
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An Update from last week:

In last week’s blog post, I focused on a new trend that some job seekers in the US faced involving their potential employers asking for their social media passwords during the interview process. Since then, Maryland has become the first state to pass legislation to ban this practice.

Maryland social media lawyer Bradley Shear told ABC News, “In a nutshell, it protects employees and employer. It prohibits employees from having to provide access to their password-protected digital content or social media account information.”

Bill 433 passed in the House on Monday, and Minnesota and Illinois have similar legislation currently being written.

A new twist on social media privacy

One of the biggest concerns of social media use has been privacy settings and the protection of a user’s posted content. Facebook has had to repeatedly defend its ever-changing privacy settings and in 2011 even Mark Zuckerberg was the target of one of the social network’s privacy flaws when users flagged his display photo as “inappropriate,” thereby gaining access to his private photos. A lot of privacy concerns centre on unflattering photos uploaded by others, and personal information and postings that can be seen by others who are not within a user’s allowed friends list.

Poor judgment in postings can also later lead to regret if the information isn’t protected by a high privacy setting. A 2012 study by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press showed that 11 percent of social media users regret posting their content online. Men are nearly twice as likely to say they regretted posting some of their online content. But at the same time, they are more likely than women to create and maintain an online social media presence.

There’s a new trend in the US that makes it even harder for some social media users to maintain their privacy. Usually when a job seeker gets ready for an interview, they polish their resumes, dust off their best suit and practice their answers to questions such “Describe one of your weaknesses?”

But now they’re needing to prepare to hand over the password to their social media accounts. In Illinois and Maryland, politicians have actually had to draft legislation that would make it illegal for employers and public agencies to gain access to a potential employer’s social network.

In a recent article from The Canadian Press, Maryland resident Robert Collins told his story of being asked by his hiring manager for his Facebook password when he applied to be reinstated as a prison guard. The managers reason? To comb through Collin’s profile page for potential gang connections.

Other employees have said the hiring managers asked them to log into their accounts at the office or to add the manager to their social networks in the midst of the interview process.

Politicians and policy makers have decried the practice as a serious violation of privacy. Several employers have gone on the record to defend their actions, saying the interviewees could have refused to hand over their passwords (but how many potential employees would have gotten the job if they had done so?)

Facebook released a statement last week asking employers not demand the passwords.

“If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password,” wrote Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan.

In Canada, lawyers said potential employees shouldn’t be worried about having to hand over their passwords during their next interview due to our stronger labour laws which ban companies from asking for personal information. Both provincial and federal laws are more strict in Canada.

Toronto-based labour lawyer Paul Cavaluzzo told The Canadian Press, “In Canada we’ve always respected privacy rights, which means that the employer does not have, and should not have, access to personal information.”

If any Canadian employees come across this practice, career counselors advise they ask for the reason for handing over their password and should realize they are within their rights to refuse to hand over any personal information. They should be aware though, that anything posted which is not guarded by privacy settings may be seen as public information by the employers.