UofSC Social Media Insights team examines COVID-19 online commentary

Published: Mar. 11, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the new strain of the coronavirus continues to spread, many of you are taking to social media with your own questions and concerns. Specialists at the University of South Carolina's College of Information and Communications are looking into what folks are saying.

Experts in the social media insights lab have been tracking the online conversations surrounding COVID-19 in our state.

The technology they’re using to compile their stats is an artificial intelligence-based system that tracks social media commentary-largely coming from Twitter.

Specialists from the lab say that up until just a few days ago, many of the posts coming out of South Carolina were showing a lack of concern surrounding this new strain of the coronavirus. Now, that sentiment has shifted.

(Kait Park/Social Media Insights Lab Manager)

“We are seeing more and more social media users talking about testing,” said Kait Park, the Social Media Insights Lab Manager. “There are several things that they’re talking about in relation to testing. Mainly what we’re seeing is a lot of users questioning the accessibility of testing, and also affordability of testing. If you need that test, will it be available to you, and how much will you have to pay for it.”

Over at the insights lab, they also tell us that within the last week, they’ve seen President Donald Trump mentioned almost four times more than the CDC when users in the state are talking about new coronavirus.

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