An electronic sountrack reveals your social media standing

Twitter popularity translated into music

Instead of examining tonnes of data, firms and individuals could simply listen to a short electronic soundtrack to gauge their social media standing, thanks to an innovative idea of Northern Irish researchers.

In an extensive study, experts from Belfast-based firm Adoreboard, a spin-off from the Queen’s University, together with Big Data company Havas Helia, analysed how people express emotions including anger, joy, surprise and annoyance in tweets.

A catalogue of more than 20 types of emotions has been created and run through algorithms that could translate those emotions into melodies and rhythms. The researchers enlisted help from music experts from multimedia entertainment company Ministry of Sound who created short house music tracks reflecting the popularity of several companies and individuals.

Ben Silcox, chief data and digital officer for Havas Helia said he hoped the project could break the preconception that Big Data is only about dry numbers.

“This project has shown how online data can be brought into the real world to create something new and fun which can be enjoyed,” he said. “For brands, we can see how their beats compare with others as a starting point to see what can be optimised.”

The team has demonstrated its invention in a short YouTube video with a soundtrack that aims to reflect emotional responses of Twitter users to the ups and downs in the performance of Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.

“Initially we used the idea of creating a beat for McIlroy as a brand to reveal the emotional highs and lows of an incredible developing career, as well as the ups and downs in his personal life,” said Chris Johnston, chief executive of Adoreboard. “The result is the first sound track generated by human language and emotions from Twitter.”

The analysis of McIlroy’s social media popularity took 10 months and included 100,000 tweets about him. In the resulting soundtrack, each beat represents one opinion expressed on Twitter.


Rory McIlroy’s popularity in Twitter captured in a computerised soundtrack:

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