A growing number of Softies are Twittering these days, as are members of Microsoft's primary public-relations firm, Waggener Edstrom.
Like many tech PR firms, WaggEd also monitors religiously Twitter trends involving its biggest client. On March 11, WaggEd went beyond simply monitoring tweets: It introduced a beta version of a software tool for monitoring and analyzing them.
Called twendz, the new tweet-analysis tool is free and available to any interested parties. WaggEd reps are using the tool in-house to track budding trends. Waggs also have shared twendz "with various Microsoft clients," a company spokesperson said.
To this un-Twitter-trained eye, it looked like twendz was little more than Twitter Search with a fancy front end. But there's more to it, according to the WaggEd spokesperson:
"Twendz marries twitter search with real-time sentiment analysis. twendz is able to effectively generalize the attitudes and feelings about a particular topic, product or brand as the conversation happens. So, for example, the latest top trend on twitter is about the new iPod Shuffle. twendz is able to tell you how people are feeling about the new iPod, and it can summarize those feelings and attitudes for you over time."
Twendz was developed by WaggEd's measurement and monitoring team -- which also developed a media mapping and analysis service called Narrative NetworkSM. The team is developing a follow-on version with "more features, functionality and deeper capabilities that would be offered for a fee as part of our family of monitoring and measurement tools," the spokesperson said.
"It started with a rare Portland, OR snow day and a WE software engineer who was bored, trapped in his house and curious enough about Twitterers to develop a new way to track sentiment in Twitter posts. By the end of the day our Web Solutions group released the first version of a new Twitter tool. Honed over the next two months with the help of our Studio D, and Technology Services teams, it grew into an online application that can be effectively applied to our business."
So if you've been wondering if Microsoft and its PR scouts have been watching your tweets -- especially those having to do with Microsoft -- the answer probably is yes. And from here on out, it's definitely going to be the case.