This study explored how student-athletes at UNC-Wilmington (UNCW) used Twitter to help save their swimming and diving teams from being eliminated. Both a series of interviews and a content analysis of 1,775 tweets by 25 athletes were conducted. The results suggest that athletes and advocates can use Twitter to raise awareness about their cause. The UNCW athletes’ goal to demonstrate community support by alerting as many people as possible through social media was achieved through tweeting consistently, becoming opinion leaders in the two-step flow of information, and using weak ties to get followers of other accounts to rally behind their cause. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
The author is with the College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Address correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org