“Don’t Touch My Junk” – Social Media Fallout of the TSA’s Screening Process

By Nizam Sayeed on November 24, 2010

Over the last month or so, a storm has been brewing about the new security procedures recently put in place by the TSA. We’ve been monitoring the social web using MutualMind to gauge what’s being said about this heated issue. As we headed into the busiest travel day of the year, the volume of conversations on the social web steadily ramped up and we noticed several trends:

Negative Sentiments Galore


As seen on the chart, the general trend has been increasingly negative. We’ve never seen so much negativity for any other campaign before. The new TSA policies have brought about a very strong reaction.

The trend seems to have peaked on November 22nd when the story of, Thomas Sawyer, a bladder cancer survivor humiliated after undergoing a pat-down went viral.

Popular Keywords


Looking at keyword volume, people seem to have picked up on the new terms that have been popularized during this debate. Phrases like “don’t touch my junk” have made John Tyner famous. They were his exact words to the TSA during a recent encounter.

Some other popular terms we saw are: “gate rape” and “porno scanner”.

Related Trends


Our content analysis revealed some interesting micro-trends. Words like “urine” got a lot of mentions because of Thomas Sawyer’s ordeal, mentioned earlier.

President Obama got a lot of hits as well. He said that he understood people’s frustrations and that these measures were necessary for security. Some people however, were not satisfied with his position on the TSA’s practices.

With activist groups calling for a national opt-out day today, this could get quite interesting.