UConn’s Social Media Analytics Command Center Has 2020 Election Night Covered

people looking at screen
The UConn SMAAC. shown here covering the Oscars, will provide Election Coverage on Tuesday.

The UConn Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) will be covering the presidential election with a live broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and then will be following up on Twitter when polls start to close around the country.

The half-hour show will be available for all to watch on YouTube, and the Social Media Analytics Command Center can be followed on Twitter @UConnSMACC. The SMACC is part of the UConn Digital Media and Design (DMD) department.

The show will feature digital media design assistant professor in-residence John Murphy, associate professor of political science Jeremy Pressman, and DMD students Ryan Young ’20 (SFA), Christina McDonnell ’20 (SFA), a native of Bolton, and Rosalie Garcia ’20 (SFA), a native of Plainfield.

“The students and I have been tracking the election and all its issues since the Democratic primaries on social media,” says Murphy. “We have a platform that allows us to listen in and pull in publically-available conversations globally on any topic we want. Whether it is a news broadcast, an opinion piece, or a citizen that is out there on social media talking about how they feel regarding this presidential election, we track all that information. We slice it and dice it to come up with insightful analysis.

“Instead of polling people, we listen in on social and digital conversations to hear what people are really saying.”

To learn what kinds of election-related data the SMACC been analyzing, visit: https://smacc.lab.uconn.edu.

The SMACC will also be calling the winners of each state in the presidential election using its Twitter feed as the night goes on.

“When the television networks come on the air, they usually report exit polls and who they think is going to win in certain states as polls close,” says Murphy. “We would like to give a prediction ahead of the networks. When we covered primaries in the spring, we had 25 of 27 called by 5 p.m. based on social media data. We are going to show people how we do that.”

The SMACC has analyzed a number of different events over time, including the Oscars and the NCAA basketball tournament.

“We support brands that hire us and track them and their competitors,” says Murphy. “Anything that is taking place in the world is taking place on digital and social media. So whatever the topic du jour is, we can go out and track it.”