Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Journalism and Mass Communications, Under the Supervision of Professor Sue Burzynski Bullard. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2011
Copyright 2011 Sarah Van Dalsem


The fast-growing social media site, Twitter, is growing in popularity among Americans from all walks of life, including farmers who are using it to share information with other farmers and consumers. This thesis expands on Uses and Gratifications Theory by looking at how farmers are using the social media site to promote agriculture and reach out to others. Based on a qualitative analysis completed on 22 interviews with farmers, four major purposes for using Twitter came to light: (1) Farmers are using Twitter to seek information; (2) they are using it as a tool to lead others within the agricultural community, and (3) they are using it as a way to build community and (4) build their businesses. This research is important because it builds on a limited amount of research on how a niche group of people uses Twitter and contributes to research on how farmers are receiving news and information.