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College of Information and Communications

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New COVID-19 cases drive S.C. conversations

Posted June 16, 2020
Top photo by Markus Spiske from Pexels

An increasing number of coronavirus cases is the driving force behind recent social media conversations about COVID-19 in South Carolina, according to a new analysis by the University of South Carolina Social Media Insights Lab.

Looking at a period between March 1 and June 15, the Insights Lab analyzed more than 214 million posts across the United States, including 950,253 in South Carolina. Both in South Carolina and nationally, the total number of posts had been trending downward since a peak in March.  However in South Carolina, the lab found conversations have spiked in recent days as the state has reported between 434 and 802 cases per day.

“In reviewing South Carolina posts, the increasing number of cases is the predominant theme,” said Kaitlyn Park, Insights Lab manager.  “Nationally, conversations were more general and were more likely to mention President Trump and the political debate over the coronavirus.”

About the Social Media Insights Lab

The lab is part of the College of Information and Communications. It is used for teaching, academic research and public reports intended to help people better understand issues of the day.

The Insights Lab software, Crimson Hexagon, uses artificial intelligence to interpret data. View a full list of reports  and follow the lab on Twitter at @UofSCInsights

How is sentiment calculated?
The lab uses software developed by Crimson Hexagon, now known as BrandWatch following a merger. The software gauges the emotional tone of conversations using auto-sentiment artificial intelligence technology. This feature is useful for identifying patterns within large sets of social media data, but it should be noted that auto-sentiment has its limits. For example, it does not always recognize sarcasm, nor does it account for posts which may express more than one emotion.

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