Social media reacts to Charlotte protests

Clemson University's Social Media Listening Center

As the protests have continued in Charlotte, a lot of the reaction has been on social media from protesters, people who live there, and even some giving their opinions from hundreds of miles away.

At Clemson University’s Social Media Listening Center, Brandon Boatwright is watching how the online conversation is unfolding.

“This collects all of it and kind of gives you a better sense of what the actual conversation is like,” Boatwright explained.

They search millions of sources online from twitter, facebook and instagram to blogs and forums. They track the locations, the reactions and even the number of posts.

“As of right now, it’s not the same level as say a Ferguson, or Baltimore, or things like that, but it’s contributing to a much larger conversation that’s happening on social media, in terms of race in the United States today,” he said.

Boatwright says a lot of the posts have been negative conversations about the protests. As of Wednesday afternoon, the sentiment was about 95% negative – one of the most negative conversations they’ve tracked at the SMLC.

“There’s a very heated conversation at the beginning and then after some time, the emotional temperature kind of dips down to where there’s actual discussion taking place,” said Boatwright of the typical trends they see during similar events.

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