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Connecting with fans in under 140 characters: Participation frameworks in the NHL's use of Twitter

Draucker, Fawn (2012) Connecting with fans in under 140 characters: Participation frameworks in the NHL's use of Twitter. Comprehensive Paper, University of Pittsburgh.

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As social media become more prevalent, they provide opportunities for both individuals and organizations to communicate in new and innovative ways. Many professional and collegiate sports teams have taken advantage of these media to reach their fan bases, with Twitter in particular taking a strong hold in the sports world. Twitter has been shown to provide a way for sports organizations to not only provide fans with updated news and information about the team, but also to provide so-called backstage information, showing off the personalities of players, coaches, and owners (Gregory, 2009). While there has been a significant push to use such ‘insider’ information to make fans feel more engaged with the team, participation structures are often overlooked as a potential tool for engaging fans via social media. Complex participation structures are available in interaction, and these structures can be manipulated to display stances and alignments to both the interaction and its participants and to the talk itself (Irvine, 1996; Hill and Zepeda, 1992). In order to understand how these participation structures can be manipulated to evoke different stances, a vocabulary and framework for discussing these structures are needed. Using the National Hockey League (NHL) and its official team accounts as a case study, this paper adds to the current body of research on the interactional use of social media tool Twitter by analyzing Goffman’s (1981) concept of participation frameworks, examining the ways that language use on Twitter both embodies and challenges the traditional participation roles enacted in face-to-face conversation. Through analysis of a corpus of 4,266 tweets produced by the NHL team accounts in a one-week span in March 2011, this project looks to define the participant roles and frameworks available to sports organizations in producing talk for their fans via Twitter. This analysis suggests that while Goffman’s conventional participant roles can be extended to this medium, they are not sufficient on their own for describing the interactions between sports teams and their fans on Twitter, indicating the need for both new participant roles and revised conceptions of these traditional roles. Finally, linguistic tools specific to the Twitter medium, such as @mentions and #hashtag terms, are discussed in regards to their role in manipulating the participation frameworks available to NHL team accounts.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Comprehensive Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Draucker, Fawn
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scott F.Kiesling@pitt.eduKIESLINGUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBrown, Laura C.lcb32@pitt.eduLCB32UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberJohnstone, Barbarabj4@andrew.cmu.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: 22 January 2012
Date Type: Submission
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Comprehensive Paper
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Participation, frameworks, social, media, Twitter, computer-mediated, communication, team-fan, interaction, National, Hockey, League
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2013 14:52
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 10:55


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