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Quarantine, Tigers, and Planes, Oh My!

It is not every day that Knoxville, Tennessee makes national news, so when Knoxville makes the news for three different stories, there must be something going on. Within the past 24 hours, CNN ran a story on how more than 2,100 members of the University of Tennessee family are in quarantine, an airplane made an emergency landing and takeoff on Knoxville’s Interstate 640, and a tiger was spotted running loose in the Forks of the River Industrial Park. I guess you can throw all of this in with the pictures of the red sky over the west from vast wildfires, murder hornets, a pandemic, and all the other craziness of 2020.

I decided to see how people were talking about the plane landing and tiger spotting on social media; we will be coming to you soon with Tennessee COVID content in an upcoming series of blog posts.

I created two keyword groups, one based around the plane landing and the other based around the tiger sighting. The two groups have similar numbers of posts as of 10:15 am, with the Tiger Group having 55% of all posts, mainly due to beginning to trend overnight. The emergency plane landing has been popular with mainstream news with 34 mainstream news stories compared to the Tiger’s 13. Large news organizations have covered the plane landing from famous social media video news company “Now This” to local affiliates nationwide, including Boston, Baltimore, and New York. Newsweek is the largest influencer in the Topic Profile, according to Klout, and their story posted around 7:00 am about the tiger has been the one that has sparked most of the social chatter.

Overall, there have been over 3,600 posts related to these stories over the past 24 hours, and the media trend has been increasing this morning, with over 1,500 Twitter hits alone since 7:00 am.

The Tiger Group Wordcloud

The Airplane Landing Group Wordcloud

The emergency landing story has a slightly higher positive sentiment with a 61% positive, 39% negative breakdown compared to the Tiger’s 43% positive, 57% negative breakdown. The Plane Story’s positive sentiment is driven by coverage of everyone being safe, a happy conclusion to a crazy story. The Tiger Story does not have an ending as of now, however.

When it comes to negative sentiment, according to Social Studio, it seems as if yesterday was the 2020 breaking point for Knoxvillians. There have been a lot of surprises in 2020, but the sheer amount of weird news yesterday has many people reeling.

And as you might suspect, people are referencing the other major tiger related meme of 2020, the one and only Tiger King.

Unlike the plane story, the Tiger Story is developing, and it seems as if every hour, more questions are raised. All the details we have are that the tiger was spotted in a large industrial park in Knoxville and that the Knoxville Zoo has accounted for every one of their tigers.

We hope the Tiger Story has a happy ending, as the Plane Story did. Should any new social media trends pop up, we will be sure to cover them on our Twitter @UTCCISMCC.