Clemson University’s Social Media Listening Center
The Social Media Listening Center at Clemson University is an interdisciplinary research lab and teaching facility that opened in 2012. It brings together faculty, staff, students, and external partners to support undergraduate creative inquiries, faculty research, pedagogy, and outreach through social media listening. Salesforce Radian6 provides a platform to listen, discover, measure, and engage in conversations across the Web by capturing more than 150 million sources of social media including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and other online communities. The Radian6 summary dashboard provides a graphic display of social media content to convey sentiment, share of voice, trend information, geo-location data and much more.
Clemson’s Social Media Listening Center offers a unique medium through which users are able to obtain valuable insight regarding the various social landscapes they survey. Students in a creative inquiry course this spring, for example, were challenged to examine the role increased participation on social media has influenced the ways in which traditional media outlets report the news. Examining online conversations around major newsworthy events including President Obama’s State of the Union Address, the crisis in Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the Maryland mall shooting, among others led students to examine the role traditional media sources played in reporting these stories across newer social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
The variety of voices contributing to these online conversations shed light on the increasingly democratic nature of social media. In light of this, faculty and staff at Clemson have used the Center for many unique projects including:
- Analysis of sentiment about Super Bowl advertisements
- Examining the effectiveness of emergency responses during crises such as school shootings
- Listening to online conversations centered around political issues and controversies such as “BridgeGate” and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
The Social Media Listening Center is committed to enriching our understanding of the online social sphere while simultaneously promoting civic engagement and communication. Moreover, the center actively seeks avenues for connection, collaboration, and assessment within these and other contexts.