What’s the tone of your corporate email or text communications? There might be some important reasons to have a better understanding of how employees’ words might be interpreted, before they hit the send button.
Sentiment intelligence in the corporate setting is the focus for Lymbix, whose ToneCheck add-in for Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010 tags content across eight emotional layers (funny, exciting, angry, and so on) to make sure that it conveys actual intent. “We built a large emotive lexicon repository to essentially understand more of what people feel with respect to emotive context,” says Josh Merchat, co-founder and CTO. “We had to create a more advanced sentiment system because knowing just that something is positive or negative doesn’t give you a good understanding of where there could be misinterpretations in tone.”
In fact, in addition to software algorithms for tone analysis, it’s leveraging the crowd-sourcing model with its Tone-a-Day application. This lets real people (some 10,000 registrants so far who have to meet quality specs in terms of language understanding) rate the tones of words and phrases against its various categories of emotion to win points and prizes, as well as fees for service for its top community members. “We leverage what we believe is an important component to sentiment, which is the human approach,” Merchat says. Human subjectivity, he says, is where sentiment analysis technologies often fall down.