One of the most difficult things about writing online is expressing tone and emotion. Emoticons and Emoji help, but what if there was a tool that uses artificial intelligence to determine the emotional response readers are most likely to have after consuming your content?
That’s the idea behind Watsonfinds, a free WordPress plugin created by Alfredo Gutiérrez and Max Ortu. Using a complex algorithm, Watsonfinds uses IBM’s Watson to understand content like a human by reading and interpreting complete sentences, the reader’s language, and its context.
Once activated, a new button is added to the editor toolbar. Clicking the button will send the content through an API to IBM’s Watson for analysis.
When an analysis is completed, the results are displayed in a modal window. The report is broken down into five emotions: joy, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear.
I submitted five posts of various length and each report was generated quickly. Here are the posts I submitted along with the most likely emotional response from readers.
- Automattic to Close San Francisco Office – Sadness
- New WordPress Plugin Shows Users Where a Plugin’s Settings Link Is Upon Activation – Sadness
- WordPress 4.7.4 Fixes 47 Issues – Sadness
- HeroPress Partners With WPShout to Offer WordPress Education Scholarships – Joy
- Headway Themes Appears to be Dying a Slow Death – Anger
Within the report is a timeline where you can compare results as you add or remove words to the post.
During testing, I found the timeline confusing to use as I thought I had to save the post as a draft after each edit to generate a revision on the timeline. To use the timeline, you need to make changes to a post without saving it and then click the Watsonfinds button to generate a new report.
Being able to see which words are generating the emotions depicted in the report would be a nice feature to have. Gutiérrez says that this feature is in the works and will be in the commercial version of the plugin. The More Insights tab in the report is an advertisement for the premium version which is not yet available.
I tested the plugin on WordPress 4.7.4 and didn’t encounter any issues. While Watsonfinds isn’t going to change how I write, I can see the potential benefits of using such a plugin to try to illicit a certain emotional response from readers and customers whether it’s a renewal email, blog post, or other copy.