com.motion analysis: Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

As the Tiger Woods situation played out, the com.motion team, and Sean McDonald in particular, took a look at what was happening online. In particular, he looked at the sentiment and volume surrounding the story and the findings were fascinating.

The following graph shows the increase in volume of mentions of Tiger Woods within blog posts over the past week or so:

Tiger Woods Dec. 2009

Now Twitter. Here is the same search for the same period of time. Note that volume is nearly 10 times the amount of blog mentions.

Tiger Woods Volume Twitter

Measuring sentiment using an automated tool is always going to be tough. There are false negatives, false positives and false neutrals. However, with the huge amount of volume surrounding this issue, we can’t manually review each and every piece so this will have to do. What we can say is that the inaccuracies inherent in the algorithm will apply equally across the board. With that in mind…

These two graphs represent the same data and estimate sentiment around references to the term “Tiger Woods” over the past few months. The different style graphs help to demonstrate the shift.

Tiger Woods sentiment

A line graph helps to demonstrate how quickly the tone changed.

Tiger Woods sentiment line graph

Fascinating how the sentiment has shifted so quickly – and will likely switch back just as quickly.


Based on this analysis, Sean was interviewed by and quoted in, Marketing Mag’s “the Marketing Daily”.

The full article is online with the best bit below:

Will sponsors stick with Tiger?

By Associated Press with files from Kristin Laird

Toronto-based social media and word of mouth agency com.motion also tracked a huge spike of Tiger Woods blog postings and Twitter traffic in the days after the story broke. By choosing to stay quiet, Woods actually inflamed the story online, said Sean McDonald, account manager. "Had Tiger Woods made a statement earlier, had he divulged the reality far earlier on, the value of the information by the women involved would have been much lower," he said.

"Basically by holding on to it and not saying anything, he created interest around what they had to say. He could have made the same statement earlier and people would have said ‘Okay we know what’s going on here, we don’t need to search frantically.’ "


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