Journalism and Mass Communications, College of


Date of this Version

Summer 8-2012

Document Type



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 Jerry Renaud. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright 2012 Kelly D Mosier


Our increasingly interconnected society has allowed total strangers to share insights in real time with increasing frequency and ease through the use of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Twitter, a social network based on the cell phone short messaging system, has previously shown an ability to aid in the sharing of information during major events such as presidential debates and breaking news.

Sporting events are also places where large groups of people share a similar experience. Traditionally, information has flowed to average viewers, through professional journalists. Due to social networking sites like Twitter, fans now have the ability to speak directly to professional journalists, other fans as well as representatives within a sports organization during an event, regardless of distance, and in real time. The adoption of Twitter into these sporting communities may be shifting traditional communication patterns among sports organizations, journalists and average fans.

Understanding how reflective the flow of information is to the actual events on the field, how the parties involved in this social media community communicate, and the influence of institutional social media accounts with different users is paramount in further understanding how information is shared using social media.

By examining a collection of Tweets obtained during the 2012 Capital One Bowl game with Nebraska versus South Carolina this research has been able to take a closer look at the Nebraska Football Twitter community in order to begin understanding these questions. Users can be divided into two groups, seekers of information and sources of information. Ultimately, understanding how users seek out information and communicate during a sporting event will assist first hand sources of information such as journalists and sports organizations in better tailoring their messages to the correct audience to gain the best, most accurate information available in an instantaneous manner.

Adviser: Jerry Renaud