Hootsuite debuts a big, shiny, election-tracking tool for Twitter, Facebook

The U.S. presidential election is coming up on Tuesday, and Hootsuite has just unveiled a customized command center to track social media sentiment around the two main candidates.

“The command center is meant to offer viewers a sense of how the election is playing out on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter,” said a Hootsuite rep in an email to VentureBeat.

From the command center, you can check out which candidate has the most Facebook likes, who’s mentioned in more updates and tweets, and even the sentiments expressed around each candidate.

One huge caveat about sentiment, however: Natural language processing (NLP) is not the most elegant discipline, and currently available consumer-grade technologies are terrible at accurately determining sentiment. For example, a tweet reading, “I need Mitt Romney out of my life” would be read as a tweet in support of Mitt Romney based on the positive connotations of the phrase “I need.” Or a Facebook post reading, “Obama’s foreign policy makes me laugh” would also be read as positive because, you know, laughing is good, generally speaking. And software isn’t good at sarcasm — not yet, anyhow.

But for all other purposes, the Hootsuite command center is a handy way to check out tweet volume and Facebook likes from a central dashboard. It’s also a great way for Hootsuite to show off its larger Command Center product, which businesses can customize for their own multi-screen, multi-metric tracking needs.

Here’s a couple snapshots of today’s social media stats around the election:

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Top image courtesy of Peeradach Rattanakoses, Shutterstock


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