For tens of millions of football fans, the reaction to the big game plays out on Twitter, as they delight, distress, cheer and fret at each snap.
This year, for the first time, a visualization tool created especially for Super Bowl 50 will track the ebb and flow of the Denver Bronco and Carolina Panther faithful’s anger and anxiety in real time before and during the game, thanks to work by Drew Margolin, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, and doctoral candidate Wang Liao.
Here’s how the tool works: Software developed by Margolin and Liao tracks tweets sent from the Charlotte and Denver areas, as well as Phoenix and Boston as control cities, then maps the intensity of the emotional content. When users send a tweet with a team hashtag (e.g., #Broncos) or mention a team's handle (e.g., @Panthers), the software decodes the emotion by running the tweet’s language against a set of words that express different feelings. The program assigns a value to the emotional intensity, ranging from anxiety to elation, and the sentiments are mapped on a visualization tool created by Cornell computational scientist Brandon Barker.
A touchdown pass from Peyton Manning? Denver fans will light up with glee as Carolina fans brood. After a long Cam Newton run, expect the reverse. Experience the research for yourself at: margolin.cac.cornell.edu/superbowl.