The Pulse, a gauge of Boston sport fans' feelings towards their favorite teams and players (Courtesy of Boston.com)

Boston.com, the local internet subsidiary of the Boston Globe, has recently come up with a new barometer, to sense exactly how fans feel about their favorite teams and players, according to the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University.

The Pulse is described by the Boston Globe’s Beta Boston Tumblr, as a “visual representation of a technology that analyzes social data”.

Its essential function is to count social media interactions, like hash tags and tweet mentions, to assess a certain team or player’s “social score”.

The social score is divided into three distinct categories, which is supposed to run the gamut of fan interaction: a red section representing “Hate ‘Em”, a yellow section representing neutral, and a green section representing “Love ‘Em”, a visual representations that sort of resembles the Guinea flag.

The Boston Red Sox have a social score of 53, as of October 26th, up from a negative score (negative, for a team, being a number below 50), amassed after the Red Sox lost 18 of their last 24 games, to lose their division.

Flag of Guinea (Courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency)

Until recently, the Pulse only measured Red Sox fans. However, recently, Boston.com launched The Pulse for Patriots fans, with another one planned for the Bruins. (The Celtics do not have a season, as of today, thus The Pulse would seemingly have little value for them.)

The Pulse, for those with technological know-how, is built in HTML5, the latest optimization of the HTML coding, and is adapted to work with mobile devices.

The interesting element to the Pulse, according to the Nieman Journalism Lab, is that it allows, for fans of sabermetrics, fan sentiment to be recorded as statistical data.

The problem is that social media aggregators like these, tend to favor social media icons over substantive players, and might not reflect the true value of a player. For instance, on the Patriots Pulse page, the player with the 2nd highest social score on the Patriots, at 64, is Chad Ochocinco, who has nearly 3 million twitter followers, but, by and large, has been a disappointment for the Patriots. Meanwhile, teammate Wes Walker, who does not have a Twitter account, has a social score of 23, despite currently leading all NFL players in receptions, and being designated All-Pro, during each of the past three seasons.

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