Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Jan Wicks

Committee Member

Ignatius Fosu

Second Committee Member

Stephen Dittmore

Abstract

The influence of social media on intercollegiate athletic departments has been prominent in the past few years. With tight budgets, the departments are forced to find different means of marketing and promoting their brand – through embracing social media platforms. Research on social media and intercollegiate athletics is limited; therefore, it is necessary to research how the departments are utilizing social media. With the agenda setting theory as a foundation, this study explores how the 14 SEC football teams are utilizing Twitter. A total of 3,176 tweets were collected from two constructed weeks. Overall, the findings show that the information sharing category, presumably the game scores and highlights sub-category was the most used category by the 14 teams. Results also show that the majority of tweets are published during conference games as compared to non-conference games or non-game days. Additionally, schools that were never ranked at some point during the football playing season were less likely to produce tweets in the information sharing, promotional, diversion, and interactivity categories but more likely to produce tweets in the fanship category.

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