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UT’s Research Group Provides Social Media Analysis of First Debate; Looks Ahead to Future Debates

Stuart Brotman

Stuart Brotman

Social media chatter during this week’s first presidential debate was more negative toward Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton.

Social media users showed little interest in talk about NATO but much interest in talk about fighting ISIS. They called for #factcheck most frequently on the topics of birtherism, Iraq War and tax returns.

Those were among the main takeaways reported by The Political Social Media Group, led by Stuart N. Brotman, Howard Distinguished Endowed Professor of Media Management and Law and Beaman Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The research team is composed of students enrolled in Brotman’s graduate political communication seminar. The students used sophisticated social media monitoring software to analyze public sentiment during the Sept. 26 presidential debate.

The group will monitor social media during the remaining presidential debates (Oct. 9 and 19) and the vice presidential debate (Oct. 4), and on election night (Nov. 8). They will post real-time analysis on their social media platforms and issue end-of-night reports for all these events.

Political Science Social Media Research Group report

Political Science Social Media Research Group report

Get The Political Social Media Research Group’s analysis by following it on:

  • Twitter (@PSMRG_UTK)
  • Facebook (The Political Social Media Research Group)
  • Instagram (@psmrg_utk)
  • Medium (PSMRG)

The Political Social Media Group is based in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media in UT’s College of Communication and Information. The group is using the college’s new state-of-the-art Adam Brown Social Media Command Center to monitor various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Instagram to spot trends and flashpoints—issues that spur the most social chatter—and also judge the sentiment of the chatter.

The Adam Brown Social Media Command Center uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud Social Studio—the same technology Fortune 100 companies worldwide use to publish, engage and analyze their social media marketing activities. UT has unique access to the robust social media analytic technology required for this type of research. The center was built and is operated through a fund established for the college by Brown, an alumnus of the college who is now executive strategist for the San Francisco-based firm Salesforce.



Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,