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Trump rally raises concerns in South Carolina

Posted June 19

President Trump’s weekend campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been a major topic in South Carolina social media conversations, according to an analysis by the University of South Carolina Social Media Insights Lab. 

In almost 7,000 posts since June 1, the lab found major concerns, with negative sentiment outweighing positive comments. “The rally is controversial in South Carolina,” said Insights Lab manager Kaitlyn Park. “People are angry about the timing, its location as well as the possible spread of COVID-19.”

The lab used artificial intelligence to better understand the posts. Of those that contained sentiment, 56.4 percent were negative versus 29.4 percent positive.

The negative was driven by the selection of Tulsa, site of one of the nation’s worst incidents of racial violence, and the original scheduling of the rally on June 19 or Juneteenth, the unofficial American holiday celebrating the end of slavery. 

These two issues were cited in more than a third of the negative posts. Other comments (17.9 percent) expressed concern about the spread of the coronavirus while a few people (3.5 percent) said they were not concerned about the possibility.  

In general, those expressing support for the rally tended to point to reports of high registration numbers. 

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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