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Fall TV Finales

Posted by Leah Cannon
While we students wrap up the fall semester, several network shows are wrapping up the fall season. A lot of viewers took to social media to share their thoughts on their favorite programs’ fall finales.

This is probably a good time to mention that there may be spoilers in this post, so if you are waiting until to catch up you may want to come back to this post later!
The Resident premiered earlier this year on FOX, and most viewers posting on social media felt positively about the fall finale:

But some viewers will have a difficult time waiting for the new season!

This is Us
NBC’s family drama This Is Us promised a great mid-season finale and according to viewer tweets, they delivered!

The Walking Dead

AMC’s The Walking Dead had a much-anticipated mid-season finale (despite losing 35% of all viewers since last season), and social media sentiment was overwhelmingly negative!

At the time of this writing, not all shows have had a fall finale, and fans are excited to see what will happen on their favorite shows.

Creative Twitter Content During Facebook’s Down Time

Posted by Ying Xiong

On November 20, 2018, Facebook and Instagram went down for several hours.

In total, 27,000 tweets discussed Facebook and Instagram’s down on November 20. The Twitter discussion started from 7 am, reached the peak at 10 am, and decreased at night.

Among all the on-topic posts, half of the tweets hold a neutral sentiment on the incident of Facebook and Instagram, 31.7% had a positive sentiment, and 18.4% had a negative sentiment.

Some Twitter accounts took advantage of the incident and created interesting contents. The official account of Disney movie Ralph Breaks the Internet (@wreckitralph) posted on tweet to “take responsibility” of Facebook and Instagram down and received 6,691 likes and 2,040 retweets.

The keywords “waiting” was used frequently in the context of Facebook’s down. Sesame Street posted a tweet with the GIF of the sesame character to show people’s waiting status, which got 2,394 likes and 702 retweets.

Some social media users complained that Facebook’s down brought some troubles for their digital marketing. Some funny memes were attached to the tweets for complaining about the situation.

NASA Insight Mars Landing

Posted by James Zhang.

On November 26, 2018 at 2:52:59 p.m. (ET), NASA spacecraft Insight successfully landed on Mars. As a significant technological as well as scientific success, the public in the United States are passionate about this safe landing. Their curiosity into NASA’s new scientific exploratory journey on Mars is well-reflected through social media.

In past three days (11/25-11/28), the overall volume of the social media conversation with regard to Insight landing on Mars is 352,000 posts. Most of them are from Twitter. On November 26, when the news about the spacecraft’s success landing came out, the social media conversation reached out to a peak. It generated overall more than 200,000 posts across different social media platforms.

On social media, specifically Twitter, people use hashtag “#marslanding” to facilitate conversation. With that particular hashtag imbedded in their tweets, the public was curious about the picture of the Mars’ surface taken by spacecraft Insight. Meanwhile, the public felt excited because this is eighth NASA’s mission led to another successful touchdown on Mars. Words such as “landing,” “landed,” “beauty,” “earth,” and “home” were frequently mentioned in social media conversation. Interestingly speaking, there was quite a lot number of individuals retweeted a message from NASA Insight Spacecraft’s official Twitter account that called Mars its new home.

The overall sentiment over the course of past three days regarding NASA Insight’s landing has been overwhelmingly positive, given a fact that the event is highly spectacular and is very significant in terms of scientific exploration of space.

#BigOrangeGive a Big Orange Hit

Posted by Brandon Boatwright

Wednesday was a big day on campus. Vols from all across the country and around the world came together to donate more than $2 million as part of the Big Orange Give.

Every investment in the University of Tennessee, no matter the size, goes directly to helping improve the lives of our students and to enhancing the education they receive.

While donors graciously gave of their resources to support this cause, we monitored the social media chatter about #BigOrangeGive in the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center.

Over a 24-hour span, there were 1,237 tweets either using the hashtag or directly mentioning Big Orange Give. Vol fans shouldn’t be surprised to see a familiar face as the top influencer in the conversation. VFL and current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs topped the list of individual accounts that had the most impact on the social media conversation.

While conversation about Big Orange Give was ongoing throughout the day, we found that 11 a.m. was the most popular time to post.

Big Orange Give is such an exciting day for Vols. We know the Volunteer Spirit extends well beyond Knoxville, but it’s always so amazing to see just how far and wide it goes. What’s even more incredible is the fact that VFLs are so dedicated to giving back to the university and providing opportunities to current and future students. Our very own center is a testament to that.

Naturally, it would make sense that there was quite a lot of positive conversation about the event yesterday. Of course, any day you raise a couple million dollars is a pretty good day.

Today we celebrate the success of Big Orange Give, and every day we celebrate what makes Rocky Top so special.

What a weekend on Rocky Top!

Posted by Brandon Boatwright

Last week was homecoming at UT Knoxville, and we had a blast celebrating with all current, former and future Vols on campus. A win over Charlotte didn’t hurt, either.

We covered the anticipation for homecoming last week, and ran the final analysis on the Twitter conversation today showcasing all that you had to say about the events of the weekend. 

First and foremost, there were lots of positive mentions (64.4%) about homecoming. It’s obvious to us – and anyone on campus – that UT homecoming is a special time to celebrate the Volunteer Spirit.

When we mapped out the conversation using data from Social Studio and a network visualization tool called Gephi, we were able to find that most people were mentioning the UTK Alumni Twitter account, the official UT Knoxville Twitter account, and the account for Vol Football. Inky Johnson, the grand marshal for homecoming, was also one of the main accounts involved in the homecoming chatter on Twitter.

All in all, it was a great weekend on Rocky Top. And we’re thrilled to show you just how excited people were on social media to share their experiences. We all know Knoxville is a wonderful place and that Big Orange Country is always considered home. But no matter where you are physically, you are always connected to Big Orange Family.

Tennessee midterm elections

Posted by James Zhang

November 6 was Election Day. People in the state of Tennessee came out and voted for their desired governmental officials and representatives. Republican Marsha Blackburn won Tennessee’s US Senate race, and Republican Bill Lee was elected as governor of the state. The following section provides an analysis of what the public has been saying with regard to the midterm election in Tennessee across the entire nation.

Over the past 24 hours, the volume of social media posts reached to its peak around 9 p.m. during the night on November 6, when election ended just an hour.

The majority of social media conversation regarding the midterm election in Tennessee over the past 24 hours expresses positive sentiment. Social media posts with positive sentiments are usually associated with the words such as “economy” and “healthcare.”

Over the past of 24 hours, the social media conversation has been focusing on several key issues. The top mentioned issue is economy. Meanwhile, people also discussed healthcare and immigration.

Specifically, it is very interesting to see that some on social media tended to associate economy with pop star Taylor Swift in their social media posts. Meanwhile, by comparing employment rate during Obama’s presidency to the current economic situation, some online social media users expressed their supportive tone of the GOP’s economic plan.

With regard to the issue of immigration, the GOP’s hardline stance was discussed over social media as well. One particular social media post mentioned the immigration board’s rejection of an appeal from a Memphis based, Spanish-language news outlet reporter who was arrested during a demonstration in Tennessee.

Homecoming 2018 takes shape on Twitter

Posted by Brandon Boatwright

Homecoming 2018 is only a few days away, and we’re already seeing Vols from all over the country tweeting about the big day. Over the last seven days alone, we’ve seen nearly 500 posts about the upcoming weekend. Don’t forget to check out all of the festivities that will be happening if you’re going to be in town.

If you can’t make it, we invite you to join in on the social media conversation to at least feel a little closer to Rocky Top!

Speaking of – a quick peak at the top words shows us that folks are already gearing up for the upcoming football game.

Many of the words appearing in the word cloud are the result of a single tweet from @Vol_Football outlining some of the key facts about the weekend.

There’s also a lot of chatter about VFL Inky Johnson (@Inkyjonhson) coming back to Rocky Top as the grand marshal for homecoming this year.

We’re unrolling a new wrinkle in our blog this week using Social Studio data. By pulling all of the mentions about UT Homecoming, we used Gephi (a network analysis tool) to map out what the conversation looks like. In the image below, you’ll see three distinct clusters, each representing topics people are discussing about Homecoming.

The green cluster represents the number of users who are talking about Inky Johnson coming home to serve as grand marshal. The pink cluster reflects the number of tweets and retweets directed at the UT Knoxville Alumni account. Finally, the blue cluster shows the structure of the network mentioning @Vol_Football.

Gephi provides us with an additional tool to utilize the data we are able to gather using Social Studio. We can’t think of a cooler topic to analyze than UT Homecoming, so we’re going to follow up on this next week to show you what the conversation looked like over the weekend.

So, your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to tweet about Homecoming this weekend and check back with us next Thursday as we update the network visualization. Who knows? Maybe there will be a cluster around your Twitter handle.

Either way, Go Vols and Happy Homecoming!


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.

Early Voting in TN

Posted by Leah Cannon

Election Day in the US is November 6, but why wait that long? Some states offer early voting; here in Tennessee early voting started October 17 and goes through November 1.

Midterm elections are a pivotal time when parties hope to maintain or shift majorities on both the Federal and local level. Thirty-five Senate seats are up for re-election or special election and all House of Representative seats are contested. Additionally, 36 states are electing Governors.

The Washington Post notes that voters turn out in far fewer numbers for midterm elections than for presidential elections, but Fortune predicts a 50 year high for 2018 midterms based on a combination of participation in special elections, primaries, early voting, and overall interest in the election.

Many early voters proudly showed off the stickers they received at polling places:

Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg voted early!

Find early voting near you at’s Early Voting Calendar.  If you missed early voting, will help you find your polling place.

Twitter Trends the Weekend Before Halloween 2018

Posted by Ying Xiong

Over the past weekend, many people participated in Halloween-related activities, such as pumpkin carving, Halloween costume dressing, candy give-out, and other activities. A close examination of tweets from October 26 to October 28, 2018, found that 1.2 million tweets posted during the three-day period focusing on Halloween celebration and we found four characteristics of the Halloween tweet trend.

First, the largest number of discussion of Halloween discussion was about Halloween costumes and dressing. Many social media users posted the photos of their Halloween costumes and their pets’ costumes on Twitter and showed huge enthusiasm in showing their costumes on Twitter.

Second, many people shared their own, their neighbors, or friends’ Halloween house decorations on Twitter.

Third, the White House’s Halloween celebration also has become attractive for social media users. Many people retweeted and liked the tweets about the White House Halloween decoration and Trump and first lady host Halloween at the White House.

Fourth, some organizational Twitter accounts have regarded the Halloween weekend as an opportunity to accelerate their online exposure. For example, Funko (@OriginalFunko), a toy company, invited people to retweet and follow the account to win a Halloween version toy. In three hours after the post, over 2,500 people participated in the retweet and follow. The New York Comic Con (@NY_Comic_Con) posted a tweet to invite people to reply to the tweet with a photo of their costumes for a chance to win a gift. Halloween has become a brand promotion
event for companies.

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