COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina's new Social Media Insights Lab from the College of Information and Communications is showing an in-depth look at the social media conversation in the state during the two nights of Democratic debates.
South Carolina hosts the Democratic presidential preference primary on Saturday, February 29, 2020.
The Social Media Insights Lab provided information and graphics on a variety of topics during the two nights of debate.
"What we're actually doing is something called social media listening, and what that entails is actually putting your fingertip to the pulse of what's going on in digital conversations in South Carolina and taking all that information and putting it together and analyzing it," said Lab manager and analyst Kaitlyn Park.
Night two, featuring front-runner and former Vice President Joe Biden had more conversation volume than the first night.
Night one had a conversation volume of about 9,000 peaking at 9pm. Night two had a conversation volume of 14,649 as of Thursday afternoon, according to Lab data.
Also, the "predominant sentiment in this conversation" was negative for both nights according to the Lab's information.
The negative percentage was around 60 percent each evening. However, night one excluded 47 percent of posts that did not have a positive or negative sentiment, and night two excluded 44 percent.
Marianne Williamson was the most searched candidate in the state, according to Lab data, but Bernie Sanders had the highest post volume during night one.
The Lab did not track searches on night two.
Joe Biden had the highest post volume on night two, according to the same data. But, as Thursday afternoon Kamala Harris had the most mentions of any candidate after both evenings, according to Park's analysis.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio had the highest negative sentiment in posts about any of the candidates, 56 percent of posts about him were recorded as negative.
Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden also had high negative perception percentages, but both were under 50 percent.
"What I did find very interesting is that you would probably expect Joe Biden to have the highest negatives in South Carolina. He has the highest share of the conversation and it just makes sense that maybe he would not be received as well here. But in fact, Bill de Blasio had, overwhelmingly, the most negative sentiment in the night two debates, which I found very surprising," Park said Thursday afternoon.
Marianne Williamson, Corey Booker, and Andrew Yang received some of the most positive responses in Twitter posts.
Also, according to lab staff, an emotion of 'joy' in posts was higher the first night, while 'sadness' was higher in night two.
Lastly, you can examine the chart below to see what candidates were referenced with what topics and vice versa:
The USC Social Media Insights Lab opened in the Spring of 2019, thanks to more than $150,000 in donations.