RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) Be careful what you say on social media. Someone could be watching.
A new social media watch center at Radford University gives the big picture of positive and negative posts.
The new center focuses on specific terms or hashtags in posts made in live posts and categorizes them.
With only a few touches on your phone, that post you just made about #CrookedHillary or #DumpTrump is being analyzed and compared with millions of others.
"These number indicate sentiment and what it does, it analyzes each mention in terms of how the negative and positive comments are being made about each particular candidate," said John Brummette, an associate professor at Radford University.
It's the new Social Media Watch Center at Radford University. Typically it's used by police departments to map crimes and data or by a company's public relations firm keeping a close eye on its reputation. It can also monitor real-time social media usage.
"Why look at people's tweets? Why look and see if it's negative or positive?" WDBJ7 asked.
"We want to have insight into what's going on. Before social media emerged people were really left to guess what was going on until they finally identified an issue and then it was usually too late," Brummette said.
All those negative posts or posts of praise are mapped out. Researchers can see who is saying what about this year's presidential candidates.
The most influential social media users posting about the specific term you're watching are automatically listed.
Every time a new development happens in the race these numbers soar.
"We can watch live breaking news and how it affects a spike in coverage in real time," Brummette said.
There is no doubt social media is playing a larger role in this presidential election than any before.
Many people throughout the country posting about this election are using videos or pictures to get their point across.
This gives students here at Radford experience in social media analytics and prepares them for jobs in multiple fields.