A recent study from NECSI studied geo-specific sentiment of Twitter users in New York City. Their conclusions were both intuitive and provoking: New Yorkers (and tourists) seem to be happiest when they’re near parks and are least happy when commuting.
As smartphone adoption continues to increase, wearable devices come into the mainstream and Gen Z integrates into the workforce, microtargeting users may become a consideration for marketers, particularly if user sentiment is as pronounced as this study indicates.
The researchers collected over 600,000 tweets with geolocations within New York City. They analysed the Tweets for sentiment and then aggregated the tweets by their specific locations. Here’s what they found:
- People were most unhappy at the Midtown Tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge, Port Authority Bus Terminal and at Penn Station.
- People were happiest at or near Central Park, local parks and Times Square
- People tend to be happier on the weekend, but the peaks and valleys of sentiment follow the same pattern agnostic of day
It’s been pointed out in many studies that the Twitter population isn’t representative of the general population. That said, it seems pretty clear that people are at their most disillusioned when they commuting. I’m no psychologist, but since social networks give you the ability to geo-locate with a bit more of a broad-stroke. it would make sense to introduce this level of micro-targeting to get businesses to pay a premium for a more amenable mindset.
I think the cyclic aspect of Twitter sentiment is an equally important insight. “Best time to post” tools are omnipresent and use various methods to determine when you can achieve best distribution of your content, but what if the time when you can get most distribution is a time when readers are least open to your message? Not to say that’s the case, but a lot of best practices prioritize the sender and message over the receiver, and I suspect that research like this coupled with an influx of new technology could make social media marketers shrewder about when and where people receive their marketing messages.
I’m curious to know your thoughts about this – do you feel like these insights are specific to the city only or do they have value elsewhere? Is there value to targeting people based upon their sentiment?