A couple weeks ago the Federal Reserve Board of New York floated an RFP (Request for Proposals) for a program of "sentiment analysis" of social media networks. I've embedded the scribd version of the doRFP below for your reading pleasure.
They seek to "to establish a fair andequitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and newssources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY."
The idea is for the Federal Reserve to have a system to monitor traffic on online social networks, gather the discussions, extract "sentiments" (thoughts, opinions) about the Federal Reserve, and report them to the FRB.
In part the issue here isn't so much that they're doing this - plenty of organizations are doing this already, and it's fair for organizations to want to know what is being said about them. "Sentiment analysis" via monitoring social media is the act of summarizing what people are saying in online networks (twitter, facebook, etc) to extract information that's useful to the organization. As they themselves say: "There is need for the Communications Group to be timely and proactively aware of the reactions and opinionsexpressed by the general public as it relates to the Federal Reserve and its actions on a variety of subjects."
In part the issue is that this is a pseudo-branch-of-government intent on tracking every conversation, and in particular "reach out to key bloggers and influencers" plausibly so they can control the messages from those key bloggers and influencers?
In part the issue is that the RFP timeline is it was issued on Sept 16, 2011, and that they expect a response (proposal) by Sept 28, 2011. The two week timeline implies that there are software companies who have already developed this sort of service. The FRB seems to expect the service can just be deployed (perhaps after the expenditure of many $$$'s of consultant time for training, installation, and support).
Their stated purpose is:
Social media listening platforms are solutions that gather data from various social media outlets and news sources.They monitor billions of conversations and generate text analytics based on predefined criteria. They can also determine the sentiment of a speaker or writer with respect to some topic or document.
The information gathered can guide the organizations public relations group in assessing the effectiveness of communication strategies.
Here are some of the services it can offer:
- Track reach and spread of your messages and press releases
- Handle crisis situations
- Continuously monitor conversations
- Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers
- Spot emerging trends, discussions themes and topics
A. Geographic scope of social media sites
The solution must support content coming from different countries and geographical regions. It should also support multiple languages.
B. Content and Data Types
The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms –Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube. It should also be able to aggregate data from various media outlets such as: CNN, WSJ, Factiva etc.
C. Reports and Metrics
The solution must provide real-time monitoring of relevant conversations. It should provide sentiment analysis (positive, negative or neutral) around key conversational topics. It must be able to provide summaries or high level overviews of a specific set of topics. It should have a configurable dashboard that can easily be accessed by internal analysts or management. The dashboard must support customization by user or group access. The solution should provide an alerting mechanism that automatically sends out reports or notifications based a predefined trigger.
D. FRBNY Technology Integration
The solution must be able to integrate with existing FRBNY technologies such as: Google Search appliance, Lotus notes suite and web trends. It must have support for single sign on or windows integrated authentication.
E. Cost Structure
The solution should offer a flexible pricing structure that can support multiple user licensing. It should also have the option to base pricing on content volume and usage. _Supplier acknowledges an understanding of and agrees to comply with the above minimum solutions requirements.