Six Degrees of Information: Using Social Network Analysis to Explore the Spread of Information Within Sport Social Networks

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 University of Louisville, USA
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Sport industry groups including athletes, teams, and leagues use Twitter to share information about and promote their products. The purpose of this study was to explore how sporting event organizers and influential Twitter users spread information through the online social network. The study examined two bicycle race organizers using Twitter to promote their events. Using social network analysis, the study categorized Twitter messages posted by the race organizers, identified their Twitter followers and shared relationships within Twitter, and mapped the spread of information through these relationships. The results revealed that the race organizers used their Twitter home pages and informational and promotional messages to attract followers. Popular Twitter users followed the race organizers early, typically within the first 4 days of each homepage’s creation, and they helped spread information to their respective followers. Sporting event organizers can leverage Twitter and influential users to share information about and promote their events.

The author is with the Dept. of Sport Administration, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.

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