Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Journalism

First Advisor

Jason Cain

Second Advisor

Lloyd "Chip" Wade

Third Advisor

Graham Bodie


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is one of the premiere affiliate conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Sports of all kinds have, for some time, engaged fans in multiple ways with the advent of social media enabling new forms of engagement. One of the most popular social media platforms for fan engagement is Twitter. This study is one of the first to explore how SEC teams use Twitter to interact with fans. After downloading Twitter data from all SEC baseball and football accounts, engagement was established. Engagement was defined as retweets plus favorites. With engagement defined and used as an independent variable, emojis, hashtags, media, and mentioning users were used as dependent variables. The independent variables were examined for frequency of use and relation to engagement. To examine the relationship to engagement, a hierarchical linear regression with three models was conducted. Under this study, hashtags were found to be a significant player in the role of engagement. Overall, the results of this study found that sport did play a role in engagement as football had more of an impact on engagement. Additionally in the study, the only independent variable that provided significant results was hashtags. In this sample, not having a hashtag in the body of a tweet would lead to an increase in engagement.



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