Compass Weekly Review: April 10, 2015

Another week, and many more insights to be had. Here’s a look at what our in-house Compass guru, Denise Christie, was able to glean from the mighty social media universe!

What we saw this week

Dunkin’ Donuts

  • The first Dunkin’ Donuts has opened in Orange County, CA (where Denise grew up).
  • There was also a cluster devoted entirely to people talking about wanting, buying, or drinking Dunkin’s Cookie Dough flavored coffee.
  • Also on Wednesday, all Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Connecticut were serving free coffee to celebrate the UConn women’s basketball team winning the national championship.

Red Sox:

  • Fenway Park has just opened a rooftop garden called Fenway Farms that will grow food for concessions.
  • The Red Sox will be playing the Yankees for the first time this season this weekend.

Rand Paul: Rand Paul announced that he’s running for president, so naturally we created a topic.

  • On the whole, most conservatives seem to like him better than Ted Cruz, though some are hesitant about his stand on foreign policy. Liberals also criticize him for his foreign policy, as well as for his beliefs on climate change and abortion.
  • Rand Paul’s interview with Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show made waves on Twitter. Not surprisingly, support/criticism of Mr. Paul’s actions were split roughly along party lines.
    • Conservatives felt that he was pushing back against “gotcha” statements and biased interview questions, which they say is standard in “liberally-biased” media.
    • Liberals felt that this incident proves that he does not have the temperament to do well in the presidential race. Others assert that this interview, in conjunction with another interview earlier this year where he shushed a female interviewer, reveals underlying sexism.

Absurd observation of the week: A judge ruled this week that it is legal to serve divorce papers via Facebook. Yes, really. (

Compass Weekly Review: Week of March 30, 2015

Since we’ve launched Compass, we have certainly been developing a unique perspective of how people communicate through Twitter. Having the ability to distill that HUGE & GLOBAL conversation into organized topics and themes has allowed us to understand the overarching discussions taking place (for better or for worse).

Here’s what our expert Compass maven, Denise Christie, discovered last week.

What we saw last week

March Madness: Conversation was gearing up for the Final Four last weekend!

  • Kentucky and Duke were favorites to win this weekend. One of those predictions was correct.
  • People were commenting about the fact that MLP Opening Day, the Final Four, and Easter all took place last weekend. They were excited about the busy week, and were partly dreading how much they’d be eating and drinking.

Red Sox: Baseball season is heating up, so we’ve started to look at what people are saying about our favorite local team. :-)

  • Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez will not be able to play at all this season. He sustained an injury on March 13thand will be undergoing “Tommy John” surgery this week. Sympathetic messages and wishes for a quick recovery came in from across the Twittersphere.
  • ESPN featured a Top 20 list of “best moments” and listed the Red Sox’s 2004 World Series win. Sentiment on this was mixed; some people agreed, while many others commented that this did not deserve to make the list, and that ESPN is obviously biased towards East Coast teams and particularly ones from Boston.

Ted Cruz: We’ve continued to listen to Ted Cruz and reactions to his various tweets and public statements. Some of the topics of conversation included:

  • Early last week, when the Indiana RFRA bill was passed, Ted Cruz announced that he was “proud to stand” with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Reactions were split on Twitter, with some agreeing that religious freedom needed to be defended, and others criticized Ted Cruz and Gov. Pence.
  • Calling publications like the New York Times “leftist rags” and stated that Republicans shouldn’t read them. Most reactions to this on Twitter were simply to retweet links to articles about this.
  • His campaign team also reported that he raised $4 million over the 8 days since he kicked off his campaign. Again, most of the reaction on Twitter was to retweet related news articles. Some people tweeted comments along the lines of “this is proof that people will give money to anything.”

If you are interested in learning more about how Compass can benefit your organization by following social media conversations in real-time, or if you have any other questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Until next week!

Compass Weekly Review: Week of March 20, 2015

As y’all very well know, we recently announced the launch of our newest solution, Compass, the future of enterprise listening. Since that time, our own Denise Christie, who is Luminoso’s in-house Insights Consultant, has been giving the solution a good run for its money. Denise has been beating Compass up and learning how to get the most out of it by following prominent events.

On a regular basis, we plan to provide you with an update on those events and show you what Compass has been picking up. We hope that it gives you a good idea as to how you can derive real-time insight about your company, your brand, your competitors, trends…anything that’s being discussed on social media, really!

What we saw this week

March Madness: We’ve been diligently following the chatter around the NCAA’s March Madness. Without any games going on last week, this topic was pretty quiet. The only major ongoing conversation revolved around UCLA playing Gonzaga last Friday. (Unfortunately, Gonzaga was knocked out last night by Duke. (Full disclosure: the editor of this post is a proud Duke graduate! – Final Four!!))

Ted Cruz: When Ted Cruz announced that he would be running for president, we decided to check out what Twitter had to say. Some of the topics of conversation included:

  • Comments about the fact that Ted Cruz was born in Canada but has been cleared to run for President. Many tweets pointed out that (to use an example) “7 years in, and Obama has not been vetted yet. Cruz got it over with in 3 days.”
  • The controversy about Cruz signing up for Obamacare. There were 3 main threads in this conversation:
    • Comments about the hypocrisy of Cruz signing up for a bill he has said he does not support (these people tend to be critical of Cruz)
    • Rebuttals that Obamacare is law, and so Cruz didn’t have a choice (these people tend to be supportive of Cruz and critical of Obamacare)
    • Statements that Cruz, along with at least one other Congressperson, is offered health care through Congress and turned it down in order to sign up with the ACA as a political statement. These commenters tend to be journalist and news organizations.
  • Reactions, both supportive and critical, to a statement by Cruz that “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-earthers.”

If you are interested in learning more about how Compass can benefit your organization by following social media conversations in real-time, or if you have any other questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Until next week!

Luminoso Software Update

We’ve had a few more weeks fly by, and continue to make incredible improvements to our solutions. Take a look at what we’ve been working on here, including:

  • Project filtering by account (Compass)
  • Subset limit raised to 10,000 (Analytics Platform)
  • SEM field removed from vector statistics (API)

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at if you have any questions or feedback.

Luminoso Software Updates

What a time we’ve been having over the last few weeks! Aside from the public launch of our newest solution, Compass, our development team continued to plow forward and improve on everything we offer. Check out what our team has been working on here, including:

  • Project “branch” creation (API)
  • Project name duplication fix (API)
  • Japanese one-character fix (Compass)

As always, please feel free to reach us at if you have any questions or comments!

Natural language can be such an ass headache

It was exciting to see Luminoso’s new product for streaming text analytics, Compass, get an article in Wired. Skimming past the picture of Catherine and me looking ridiculous at SXSW long ago, there’s an image of our “concept cloud” visualizer looking at what people say on Twitter when they’re sick:

Luminoso's concept cloud, showing words, phrases, and emoji people use when they're feeling sick.

Wait a minute. Zoom in. Enhance.

The text "ass headache" appears in the word cloud, near "biggest headache" and "got the worst headache".

The article includes a screenshot that includes a natural-language glitch that’s already caused a lot of amusement around the office.

Here’s what’s going on. One important thing that Luminoso does is to identify relevant phrases that contain more information than the sum of their parts. When looking at text from people who are feeling sick, the phrase “throat hurts so bad” is much more informative than the words “throat”, “hurts”, “so”, and “bad” in isolation.

Usually, these informative phrases end up being reasonable phrases of natural language, or at least close enough (“headache is killing” is missing the object, but we all get the idea).

One case where this missed slightly is the phrase “ass headache”. This is not an affliction that people would usually complain of. And yet it looks entirely reasonable to the computer, given the source data, which contains many phrases such as:

  • “I got this crazy ass headache”
  • “I have a biggg ass headache”
  • “I gotta mean ass headache bruh”

Statistically, it looks like an “ass headache” is a thing you can have. You can have a crazy one, or a mean one, or simply a biggg one, but lots of people have one.

Because we’re actual speakers of the language, as opposed to computers stumbling through it to the best of their ability, we know how these phrases should really be interpreted. We understand that the word “ass”, for whatever reason, can be a modifier for the adjective before it. (That doesn’t stop us from humorously reinterpreting it as a modifier for the noun after it, as an early XKCD comic encourages us to, which is essentially what Luminoso’s analytics did!)

XKCD #37, by Randall Munroe.

XKCD #37, by Randall Munroe.

Phrases that come up in our everyday conversation can contain surprising grammatical quirks. And that’s why natural language is such an ass headache.