Sunday, April 24, 2011

What are you Tweeting about?

What’s with the Twitter buzz?
Social Media is one of the fastest growing phenomena’s on the Internet.  Through web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, people have access to breaking news more quickly then ever.  Twitter has grown exponentially since its inception five years ago. 

Sports fans in particular have the opportunity to follow not only their favorite players and writers but, they have a chance to get involved in the process as well.  Through twitter, sports fans can tweet to their followers about anything they want.  The average fan has the chance to get involved, criticizing the way a player is playing or how a coach is coaching.  Through twitter, the fans can perhaps express something they wouldn’t normally say in person in an online community.  

How was social media used in the NCAA tournament?
In Early April, the men’s and women’s college basketball championships were played.  Before the championship tournaments started, a study was released by the IMRE Sports conducted by the Harris Interactive about how the American public would utilize Twitter during the men’s tournament.  The study revealed that nearly “one in four online American adults (23%) will be using some form of social media to follow the tournament.” (PR News Wire, 2010).  It was also revealed that those with higher incomes, which the study defined as $75K+ and college graduates would be more likely to use mobile applications and Twitter.

The study then broke down how people would use the social media site.  (PR News Wire, 2010)

  • 62% will use social media channels specifically to check the scores
  • 44% will use them to watch the games
  • 44% will use them to follow their favorite team/college
  • 40% will use them to follow their own bracket/other gaming purposes
  • 19% will utilize social media channels to follow their favorite player/coach

What did we find out?
A week after the women’s championship game, we went on Twitter and searched specific topics catered to the championships.  The terms we searched were #MarchMadness, #NCAA, #NCAAM and #NCAAW.  Before starting the inventory of the terms we believed that there would be more tweets related to #MarchMadness and #NCAAM. 

When we searched for the subject #MarchMadness none of the tweets dealt with college basketball.  All of the tweets that mentioned #MarchMadness dealt with the NCAA hockey tournament that just wrapped up earlier.  So therefore, this topic does not apply to what we were looking at. When we searched #NCAA we had a very similar problem.  We had a sample of 100 tweets, the first 100 on the page and most were regarding football or the hockey championship.  Out of the 100 tweets only 13 were related to men’s or women’s college basketball.  From those 13, only 2 were related to women’s basketball. 

The only two terms left to search were #NCAAM and #NCAAW.  We specifically narrowed these two topics down because they usually relate to college basketball.  After completing the searches, the results were way different then what we were expecting.  One week after the conclusion of the college basketball season there were only 22 tweets that came up when searching for #NCAAM.  All of the tweets were from a broadcaster with the username of @WishFeeder.  When searching #NCAAW however, we found many more tweets.  There were 59 tweets about women’s college basketball. Like with the men’s search, most of the tweets came from a broadcaster with the user name of @hoopsfeed. 

So what does this mean?
Although we were surprised that the women were much more dominant with the social networking scene, we really shouldn’t have been.  As mentioned above, the two dominant tweets from both the #NCAAM and #NCAAW feeds were from broadcasters.  Through broadcasting, the writers can get their stories out and appeal to a mass audience that is interested in a particular topic.  Also, in an industry that is “dying” like the newspaper industry, most of the stuff that would normally have been in newspapers has moved online.  Through Twitter, writers can now “microblog” what they believe is important to his or her followers.  The trick is making sure the tweet stays under 140 characters. 
“Communication does not always occur naturally, even among a tight-knit group of individuals. Communication must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one.” - Mike Krzyzewski
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" - John Wooden 

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