I read a blog post from IFTTT recently that was very interesting. The basics being that their service has moved into the physical realm, with the ability of being able to control Belkin WeMo devices. As an example, if you check in on FourSquare that you have arrived home, it will tell a Belkin WeMo Switch product to turn on the power to a light.

IFTTT FourSquare WeMo

IFTTT recipe for turning on the lights when you get home by checking into FourSquare.

So it got me thinking “What if you could monitor emotions on social networks and then create an action depending on that mood?”

From a little bit of research it looks like companies and people are already paying great interest in this development. Microsoft has a patent approved “that uses the Kinect motion-sensing camera to track a user’s emotional response to media”; and I found a service called tweetfeel that displays tweets from a keyword(s) you enter as having either a positive or negative sentiment.

Show me the money

If I knew how, I would be bashing out code straight away for the following type of ideas. As software backed up by large databases becomes even cleverer, I can see companies such as Interflora, Domino’s Pizza and Thorntons being able to tap into a wealth of instant information about a person’s emotions, and then being able to profit from it.

Below I will give an example as to how social media monitoring software in the future might use an everyday emotional situation that brands could make a sale from.

1. Interflora help the overworked girlfriend


Facebook status: “I’m so tired! Work has been so hectic – I can’t wait to get home tonight.”

The software knows the girlfriend has attached a negative sentiment with work. Interflora sends you a message/email coaxing you to buy her flowers.*

2. Domino’s feed the overworked girlfriend


This time the software sends a message to the lady who made the status update saying “Hard day at work? Why not put your feet up and order in tonight?”

3. The boss looking after his hard working employee


Many workers are connected to their boss on their Facebook profiles and here comes Thortons to the rescue with a message saying “Has [employee’s name] been working too hard lately?”

One status update, three possible sales

In theory, your company could already do some outreach in this way. When I checked out the Twitter stream for the keywords ‘horrible work pizza’ I could see a number of potential opportunities. Imagine how many more a Facebook app could generate?

For marketers, things may be about to get very interesting if automated software is developed that understands and reacts to our emotions.

*Mental note, must buy girlfriend flowers.