About the SMACC
In August 2014, the School of Communication launched the state-of-the-art Social Media Analytics Command Center (SMACC) on the second floor of Fell Hall. The SMACC is a 600 square foot facility dedicated to studying social media analytics and strategy that serves as a classroom, a research laboratory, a media war room, and a consultation studio. Students, faculty, and researchers use the SMACC to identify public conversation from major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, popular discussion forums, major blogs, and online news sources. Using specialized software they can then analyze these conversations for key data such as top influencers, trending keywords and concepts, audience metrics, geographic location of posts, user sentiment, and share of voice in the social web.
The SMACC is currently powered by NUVI, Meltwater, and Netlytic social media analytics platforms. Advanced classes and researchers also use Python scripts to collect data from Twitter's Public API and visualize social networks with Gephi.
Only a handful of similar facilities exist on university campuses, and through the SMACC the School of Communication and Illinois State University bring cutting-edge social media education and research to the State of Illinois.
The SMACC has a 3-part mission:
- Education in social media analytics research processes, visualization, and strategy
- Research using large datasets collected from the social web
- Collaboration with organizations at the local, regional, and national level on social media-based projects
The School of Communication is developing curriculum and programming that utilize the SMACC’s capabilities to enhance the social media skill sets of our majors in communication studies, journalism, mass media and public relations. The SMACC is also serving as a platform to launch new partnerships with other academic units, university offices, companies, and non-profit organizations in Bloomington-Normal and across Illinois. Examples of research projects, programming, and partnerships include:
- a health communication seminar that studied how Midwest hospitals use social media to communicate with doctors, patients, and the general public
- real-time analysis of local and regional elections to examine the effectiveness of social media in political campaigns
- support for ISU alumni and admissions events and campaigns such as Homecoming and Giving Tuesday
- hosting a national party and providing live tweetup analysis for President Obama’s 2016 state of the union address
- social media boot camps that partner advanced students with local businesses to develop social media strategy
- real-time analysis of social media activity during ISU football and basketball games
- “The Bottom Line,” a weekly television show produced by TV-10 that focuses on using social media analytics for feature reporting
- creating a hub for local and regional media outlets to report on social media issues
- client projects for businesses and organizations in McLean County
- social media analysis and monitoring for #CollegeDebate16, a national voter education partner for the Commission on Presidential Debates
- an honors course project that analyzed Twitter favorability toward candidates during the 2016 presidential election in in 16 lynchpin counties