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Migrant caravan triggers online discussion on immigration

Posted by James Zhang

One week before the midterm election,  the immigration issue has been one of the hot-debated topics circulated on mainstream media, as a caravan of Central American migrants continues its journey north. This migrant crisis triggered a large volume of online discussion across different social media platforms within the U.S.

Overall, over the past of seven days, the volume of online discussion regarding the migrant caravan carried out on social media has reached to one million posts. The majority of those conversations was from Twitter, online forums, and mainstream news media. On October 30, 2018, the online conversation was at its highest peak. Specifically, Twitter yielded about 200,000 posts with regard to migrant caravan.

With regard to migrant caravan, top words mentioned on social media are “immigration”, “caravan’, “migrant”, “illegal”, and “Trump”. Specifically, centering around the word “immigration”, a lot of conversations were about the Trump’s administration’s immigration policy.

The top influencer who drove the online conversation was E.J. Dionne Jr. He is an experienced columnist covering national politics for Washington Post. This indicates that even today in a digital age, almost everyone can create, sort out news content or even set up their own agenda freely on social media, people still tend to listen to news reporters from mainstream media whom are deemed as trustworthy, reliable voice of certain given issues.

In general, American public on social media expressed negative sentiment toward migrant caravan. To drill down this sentiment, one could see that in some of particular tweets, the word “immigration” was so often tied to another word “illegal”. Most of those tweets with negative sentiments actually discussed the policy and legislation on immigration issue.