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SCOTUS hearings bring resurgence of #MeToo posts

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh prepares to testify during the third day of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

Post written by Brandon Boatwright

In light of recent accusations made against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the use of #MeToo on Twitter has risen more than 425-percent over a seven day span.

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, alleges that he sexually assaulted her during a party in 1982. As the Senate Judiciary Committee weighs its options on how the accusation will affect Kavanaugh’s nomination proceedings, #MeToo has resurfaced on social media with renewed vigor.

Tweets using #MeToo spiked on Sept. 16, the same day Kavanaugh was accused of sexual assault.

The #MeToo movement gained significant media attention last fall, and some estimates suggest that more than 6.5 million tweets using the hashtag were sent between October 2017 and January 2018. According to our data, #MeToo was used more than 383,000 times over the course of the last seven days alone.

As more and more stories of sexual assault and harassment continue to surface, many on social media are issuing a call to action. The Kavanaugh nomination notwithstanding, it remains obvious that much more needs to be done in order to address the underlying systemic factors that enable such egregious acts. The sheer volume of tweets mentioning #MeToo is astounding. Perhaps even more significant is the hashtag’s longevity as a social movement.

A word-cloud shows the frequently most used words and phrases associated with #MeToo during the Kavanaugh hearings.

Twitter and other social platforms have become widely popular tools among activist groups looking to upend the status quo. Such was the case during the Arab Spring in 2010 and the emergence of #BlackLivesMatter.

As social media continue to serve as vehicles for social change, it’s important to monitor how these ongoing conversations not only identify a problem, but also contribute to actionable solutions.


Trump’s Tariffs

Posted by James Zhang

According to news reports, in response to the President Trump’s announcement of new import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods, the Chinese government will plan to retaliate by imposing new tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. exports. What does the American public say about this escalated trade war between the two largest economies?

Across Twitter, regarding Trump’s Tariffs, the volume of conversation is high. More than 76,000 tweets indicates that the public is knowingly concerned with the escalated trade war between the U.S. and China. The conversation on Twitter reached a peak (25,000 tweets) on Monday, September 18, when President Trump announced new import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese goods.

Regarding the issue of Trump’s tariffs, the chatter on Twitter is centered around the following key words: Trump, China, trade, tariffs, and economy.

Overall, the majority of Twitter users reacted to Trump’s tariffs in a negative way. A sentiment analysis on those tweets illuminates that more than two thirds of Twitter users hold a negative attitude toward the escalated trade war between the U.S. and China.

One of the most trending tweets regarding to the trade war is about China’s reaction to Trump’s tariffs and how the U.S. will react if China retaliated. The World Trade Organization (WTO)’s mediating role in de-escalating the trade war between the U.S. and China is also a part of conversation.

The economy is one of the most hotly debated topics on social media. With the trade war between the U.S. and China being escalated, the public will continue to focus their attention on how tariffs will affect the price of popular products, consumers, the stock market, andthe Trump administration’s foreign policy.

ABSMCC Partners with Other Universities to Form ‘Social Analytics Consortium’

The Adam Brown Social Media Command Center has partnered with social analytics labs from universities across the country to form the Social Analytics Consortium (SAC). The SAC was established to foster and advance interdisciplinary communication research collaboration and enhance pedagogical skills in the field of social analytics.

As part of our continued effort to be leaders in this emerging field, the ABSMCC is excited to partner with researchers from universities across the country to provide resources for scholarly and pedagogical advancements in big data analysis and social media metrics.

The SAC was established as a collaborative effort among existing social analytics labs in higher education settings to explore issues related to social media research, pedagogy, facility management, professional development, and lobbying efforts. Moreover, as businesses and organizations are increasingly trying to use data to inform decision-making processes, the SAC was organized as a means for researchers to address some of the most pressing challenges associated with gathering, assessing, and making sense out of the social media landscape.

The SAC was developed by researchers from the University of Tennessee, Clemson University, Illinois State University, Ohio University, and the University of Akron. More information about the respective labs from each of these universities can be found on the SAC’s website.

Queries about the ABSMCC’s role in the newly established SAC can be directed to Dr. Courtney Childers, Executive Director of the ABSMCC, or Brandon Boatwright, Graduate Associate.

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and that your new year is off to a great start! As we look forward to 2018, we want to make sure you’re aware of all the great opportunities in the ABSMCC this spring semester. Here’s a look at what you can expect:


Interested in learning more about the ABSMCC or Social Studio technology? Drop in during assistant-in-residence hours to talk with one of our graduate students that will be able to answer any of your questions. You don’t need to make an appointment – just show up to 460 COMM during any of the days/times listed below:

  • Mondays 10:00am-11:30am
  • Tuesdays 2:00pm-3:30pm
  • Wednesdays 3:00pm-5:00pm


Social media analytics reflect a rapidly growing trend in communication research and practice. We are thrilled to provide software demonstrations to classes, staff, and faculty members interested in learning more about the various applications and opportunities Social Studio has to offer. Reach out to Dr. Courtney Childers or Brandon Boatwright to schedule a demonstration.


As we keep up with the most relevant social media chatter of the day, we like to post some of what we find on our Twitter and Instagram feeds. Have suggestions for conversations we should look into? Send us a message!

We’re looking forward to a busy and exciting year in 2018. We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Vols welcome Jeremy Pruitt to Rocky Top

The wait is over, and Vol fans are excited to welcome the University of Tennessee’s 26th head football coach.

Word broke Thursday morning that former University of Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt had finalized a deal to become the Vols’ new head coach. The story gained traction quickly on social media, as more than 75,000 mentions of coach Pruitt extracted across various platforms (97-percent on Twitter) in a 24-hour span. We have been monitoring the conversation online as Pruitt landed and met with Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer.

It’s an exciting time here in Knoxville, and Vol fans have voiced their support for the hiring decision through social media. In all, 72-percent of the posts mentioning Pruitt have been positive in nature. As you can see in the graph below, there has been a huge spike in positive mentions since the story broke.

As the news continues to develop and the staff begins to take shape, we’ll keep monitoring what social media has to say about the direction of the UT football program. But based on what we’ve seen in the last 24-hours, there’s plenty of reason for Tennessee football fans to be excited!



#BigOrangeGive and the Volunteer Spirit

One million dollars in one day. That was the goal of Big Orange Give. To most, this would seem to be a daunting challenge. But most don’t have the advantage of the Volunteer Spirit.

In a 24-hour span, we were fortunate enough to watch an online conversation unfold centered around the generosity of the University of Tennessee family. Big Orange Give resulted in more than 1,000 tweets over that timeframe, as donors helped to raise more than $1.45 million in a single day.

Students took notice of the campaign’s success, expressing their gratitude across social media. Multiple VolStarter projects were 100% funded as result of Big Orange Give, providing students across the university with opportunities for enhanced educational experiences at UT. 

The word cloud (above) provides a ‘bird’s-eye-view’ of those 1,000+ mentions of Big Orange Give on Twitter, and represents the 50 most frequently used words in the online conversation. Notice words like “thank”, “impact”, “pride”, and “future”. Of the posts coded for sentiment analysis by Salesforce Social Studio software, 99.4% were positive because the overall impact of these gifts was so significant to students, faculty, and staff across the university. 

Conversation carried on throughout the day around #BigOrangeGive. But as the online chatter wanes, we know that the impact of this campaign will be felt for years to come.

From all of us in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center, and on behalf of the University of Tennessee family, thank you to all who donated on November 8!


Happy National Coffee Day!

There are few things that we here in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center enjoy more than caffeine. Our software may be powered by Salesforce, but we’re powered by coffee.

It’s only fitting, then, that we celebrate National Coffee Day with the rest of the Internet.

We don’t want to minimize the significance of this graphic. Yes, 91.5% of users are currently saying positive things about National Coffee Day. There are very few things that the Internet can agree on these days, but it certainly seems like coffee may be one of them.

What’s even more impressive? By 9:00am, there were more than 56,000 posts about National Coffee Day. I think we can all agree that without our caffeine, no one would be that productive on a Friday morning.

So here’s to you, coffee. We – along with most of the Internet – lift our mugs to you.

The (political) Emmys: Social media reacts to Spicer, Trump mentions at annual awards show

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards prompted plenty of talking points on social media Sunday night. Of course, the majority of online chatter around the Emmys focused on the winners from the evening. But a few things really stood out from this year’s ceremony; check out the word cloud below that highlights some of the keywords which provide a bird’s-eye-view of the conversation around the show.

It’s nothing new for awards shows to take a political turn. But this year’s awards ceremony brought out some very clear and direct criticism of the current political climate from Hollywood.

One of the most frequently discussed moments from the evening came when Sean Spicer, former White House press secretary, came onstage – a-la Melissa McCarthy – to announce that this year’s ceremony would be the most-watched Emmy awards in history. Period. But people weren’t exactly thrilled by his appearance:

Later in the show, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton presented the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series. The ‘9 to 5’ reunion was much more than the presentation, though, as the trio made sure to denounce being controlled by a “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” in 2017. The obvious reference to the Trump presidency elicited praise on social media, with 63.7% of the comments responding to the trio’s comments favorably.

What’s the bottom line in all of this? The Emmys are much more than an awards show. Popular culture may be a common topic on social media, but it’s not immune to the politicization of contemporary culture.




Eclipse 2017 – Knoxville

Well, the day has finally arrived! After months (even centuries!) of anticipation, the total solar eclipse has made its way to the state of Tennessee. As stargazers and solar enthusiasts track the sun’s movement across the United States, we will be tracking their conversations on social media to share their perspective from the Knoxville area.

We’ll update throughout the day since we know there will be PLENTY of mentions once the eclipse finally reaches us.

Here’s what the conversation looks like as of 11:45 am.  Notice the words “drive” and “driving” in the word cloud? Traffic is definitely one of the major topics this morning. Be safe out there!

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 11.43.37 AM

UPDATE 2:50 pm EST

What a view! The anticipation leading up to the eclipse in Knoxville was captured through our Social Studio topic profile which gathered posts across social media platforms that included the words “Knoxville” and “eclipse” occurring together. Check out the graph below that showed just how much conversation spiked during the event.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.46.24 AM

UPDATE 7:45 pm EST

It appears that everything is back to normal now. The sun is shining, and the traffic is receding. Lots of folks shared their eclipse stories in Knoxville today, and many shared positive stories of what they saw. Some, on the other hand, were not as impressed. We captured the sentiment of the event below.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.52.46 AM

Where would you fall on this scale? Were you impressed with the solar eclipse, or did you come away disappointed? Share your stories here. Only seven more years until our next opportunity to follow along as you follow the sun!

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