The Perils of 'Selective Listening' in Social Media Monitoring: Sentiment and Venue Choice in Social Media Posting Behavior
David A. Schweidel
Emory University - Department of Marketing
Wendy W. Moe
University of Maryland - Robert H. Smith School of Business
October 18, 2012
In this research, we jointly model the venue choice decision and the sentiment expressed in social media posts, recognizing that the two processes may be inter-related. Using social media data from firms in two distinct industries, we allow for both the content of the post and the underlying sentiment toward the brand to affect both processes. Our results show how the inferences we obtain from monitoring social media are dependent on where we “listen” and that current approaches used in both academia and practice – either “selectively listening” by monitoring only a single social media venue or ignoring differences across venues in aggregated data – can lead to misleading brand sentiment metrics.
We validate our approach by comparing our inferred measure of brand sentiment to performance measures obtained from external datasets (stock prices for both brands and an offline brand tracking study for one brand). We find that our measure of sentiment serves as a leading indicator of the changes observed in these external data sources and outperforms other social media metrics currently used. We discuss the implications for brand and product managers engaged in social media monitoring, as well as for social media monitoring services.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Social Media, Brand Sentiment
JEL Classification: M30, M31working papers series
Date posted: June 29, 2011 ; Last revised: October 18, 2012
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