What is #SilentSam

In 2016, the confederate monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), nicknamed “Silent Sam,” was beginning to attract attention on twitter with the hashtag #SilentSam. The social media data group at UNC are creating a series of visualizations that will continually update, allowing an interactive, real time experience of the conversation surrounding the controversy .

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Project Timeline


Real Silent Sam Coalition started using Twitter to communicate and organized efforts to remove the statue and reckoned with other vestiges of the Confederacy on campus


Dan Anderson (Professor of English; Director of Carolina Digital Humanities and the Digital Innovation Lab at UNC), started to scrape tweets using the hashtag #silentsam.


On August 20th, 2018, Silent Sam was pulled down. Over 2,500 tweets were pulled during the window from 7:00-9:00 pm


Social Media Data group at UNC Chapel Hill - Digital Innovation Lab started a text analytics project on over 60,000 tweets with the tag #SilentSam


Social Media Data group finished initial data clean and pre-processing, established some preliminary research questions.


Social Media Data group conducted exploratory data analysis (EDA) as initial approach.


Final stage of the project: generating heatmap and network analysis to analyze online communities

Social Network


431 Greenlaw Hall

Chapel Hill, NC 27514