Sentiment analysis attempts to provide a basis for understanding peoples feelings toward an entity such as a person, thing, or idea. It is applied to social media and brand management as a method of discerning the direction of public opinion.
In reputation management we use sentiment analysis in a somewhat different way. It is both automated and human-based. We look at sentiment in the context of search results and visibility. Something with strongly negative sentiment that is far back in search results is less of a threat than something of slighly negative sentiment that sits at the top of page one in Google or Bing.
Thanks to Gratisography for the awesome hero image.