A HUMAN would be forgiven for associating words like scary, absurd, ridiculous, monster, filthy, unfair or freak with negative sentiment.
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True Sentiment in Footballer Social Media Posts
By Mediacells CEO Brad Rees
Many shots were reported to have been fired and shade thrown last night after Cristiano Ronaldo ‘stormed’ down the tunnel before the end of Manchester United’s victory over Tottenham.
Digital fathoms of doomscrolling opportunities ensue from most major news and sports media outlets about the future of Ronaldo at Old Trafford and how he had let the fans down, as opined on social medias (sic).
So much media bluster originates on the terraces of Twitter, often overblown and misconstrued when the actual negative Ronaldo sentiment around ‘Stormgate’ could just about fill a teacup but the braying newshounds, hungry for clicks, pursue the story with the most compelling narrative.
Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t storm down the tunnel, he walked down the tunnel and the majority of social media fan sentiment is supportive of the Portuguese GOAT, like this post from Twitter account Glazers Out:
“Winning just 1 game and you’re trash talking #Ronaldo. Rubbish. #The goat must be respected.”
Words like ‘trash’ and ‘rubbish’ are associated by a machine listening algorithm with the hashtag subject #Ronaldo.
The machine fails to compute true sentiment, because of an ill-constructed campaign to respect the Greatest Player of All Time.
Good luck to the business intelligence analyst attempting to hold the attention of neurodivergent newshounds and splash-seeking editors wanting to attract clicks across their ‘delivery platforms’.
A human would be forgiven for associating words like scary, absurd, ridiculous, monster, filthy, unfair or freak with negative sentiment.
If the words were then used in the context of Manchester City wunderkind Erling Haaland, around the infamous Manchester Derby, they would persist with that negative resonance.
Except they wouldn’t. Not really.
We add an additional layer to negative* social media posts to reveal it is in fact the MACHINE that is inaccurately associating posts with negative sentiment.
Our data scientists looked at 4.6k machine-assigned negative social media posts about the Manchester City star and reassessed them in their true context so that words like ‘beast’, ‘monster’ and ‘animal’ in the football player context are rarely negative in fact quite the opposite.
Mexican football magazine Somos Invictos commands its 500k followers to ‘all hail the beast’. Danish sports company Unisport call him a ‘monster’.
A Unisport fan posts, “It’s not right to be this good he’s an animal”.
True sentiment registers as incredulity and wonder more than savage brutishness.
Italian media company SPORT Mediaset reported a Man Utd fan’s petition to ban Erling Haaland from football ‘because it’s just not fair’.
Machine learning tools categorised ‘non è umano’ as a negative sentiment.
We applied our Footballer Domain Words [e.g. GOAT = greatest player of all time] and assigned humour and awe to the previously attributed ‘negative’ post.
By the way, the actual number of people who had signed the Change.org petition by 11 October was 738 and NOT 2 million as reported by Sport Mediaset on Instagram
On a more down to earth level, the sports video skit duo @augeyboyz posted an video montage of Premier League defenders suffering from injuries incurred by Erling Haaland.
The tongue-in-cheek dystopia (actually the producers’ back garden) is framed as **CREEPY HAALAND** and is enough to classify the post as a negative sentiment by general machine learning tools.
A deeper look at the content in the context of football players highlights awe and astonishment at Erling Haaland’s footballing prowess albeit couched in juvenile, laddish humour.
In the world of data storytelling Squawka make a good effort showcasing Haaland’s record-breaking stats in a post about Manchester Derby day.
The use of the word ‘ridiculous’ in association with ‘broken’, when not contextualised, is negatively assigned but true sentiment speaks more to praise and homage.
I’ll leave you with a Brazilian post from broadcaster Globo’s SportTV Facebook channel which high- lights the import of cultural understanding of idiomatic language.
“Uma besta enjaulada com ódio!” literally translates as “a beast caged with hate!” – it is consistently associated with Ronaldo, Messi, Lewandowski and is the ultimate compliment to a world class player!
Download full report here.