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Bomb scares result in polarized social chatter

Police, FBI and other emergency workers gather outside the Time Warner Center in New York City after an explosive device was found Wednesday morning at CNN’s office in the building. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Posted by Brandon Boatwright

After several bombs were mailed to prominent politicians and public figures on Wednesday and Thursday, there have been multiple calls to soften the political discourse. Unfortunately, it appears some of those calls have gone unheralded on social media.

A word cloud indicating that many social media users call the bomb scare ‘politicized.’

A deeper dive into our analysis found tweets and other social media posts that politicized the suspicious packages.

We should point out that these tweets only account for a small portion of the more than 535,000 posts related to the bombs, but posts such as these have been shared so many times that these narratives have begun to shape the social conversation to a degree.

In such volatile and polarizing times, it’s important to keep in mind how far a single tweet can go toward influencing the broader conversation. Spreading messages of unity might be a good start.