UofSC students study South Carolina’s social media reaction to final presidential debate

UofSC students study South Carolina's social media reaction to final presidential debate.
UofSC students study South Carolina's social media reaction to final presidential debate.(WIS)
Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 2:28 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - While the candidates took the stage, students at the University of South Carolina were taking to Twitter and Facebook, to see what people around the state had to say about the event on social media.

The students inside the social media insight lab kept a close eye on the big talkers ahead, during and after President Trump and former Vice President Biden square off.

Some of the big topics online before the final debate included Hunter Biden, Judge Amy Coney Barrett and President Trump’s 60 Minutes interview.

After the debate wrapped up students got an idea of the social media impact from the face-off in their insight lab.

Nearly 11,000 social media posts were written about the debate in South Carolina. The top trending topics during the debate included immigration and detention centers, tax returns and the candidates health care plans.

Kait Park, the lab manager, said that a lot of times the big social media trends don’t emerge until the next day-- but sometimes viral moments like the fly on Vice President Pence’s head, during the Vice Presidential debate, can create instant social media sensation.

“Social media analysis is not a poll, its not going to tell us if people are going to go out and vote, but it is very much a barometer for people’s attitudes and opinions,” said Park.

“Small things can shape the way people feel, we saw that in the Democratic primary in the state of South Carolina, we’re seeing it currently in the Graham-Harrison race. Small soundbites do make a difference and it can definitely sway public opinion.”

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