An analysis of these three athletes' tweets was conducted over a course of three-month period, resulting in an evaluation of 847 tweets. The analysis of tweets was divided into two parts. Part one identified the tweets as either social tweet or para-social tweet, and as social retweet or para-social retweet. This portion of the analysis is consistent with previous research (Frederick et al., 2014). Part two identified the tweets into ten categories. The categories include: personal life; about their sport or another sport; responding to fans or other athletes; family and friends; religious; travel and vacation; pictures, videos, and other website links, and promotional. These categories were adopted and modified based upon the research conducted by Hambrick et al. (2010), Pegoraro (2010), Shockley (2010), and Frederick et al. (2014). The purpose of this analysis was to investigate four research questions. The following research questions are adopted from the research conducted by Pegoraro (2010):
Research question 1: What topics will be most prevalent in professional athletes' tweets?
Research question 2: Do athletes respond directly to fans?
Research question 3: Which athletes are using Twitter the most?
Research question 4: Will athletes with a history of controversies have a negative tone?
In first part of the analysis, tweets were placed into one of four categories. Para-social tweets resulted in having the most tweets at 39.4 percent (334 tweets), meaning the athletes indirectly tweeted about different topics. Vick had the highest amount of para-social tweets (218, 65 percent). Social tweets resulted in having the second most tweets with 199 tweets, demonstrating that the athletes responded to a fan or athlete 23.5 percent of the time. Grilli was found to have tweeted the most socially than the other athletes (147, 74 percent percent of all social tweets). Para-social retweets had the least amount of tweets at 16 percent (135 tweets), representing that athletes are least likely to retweet tweets from another user. The results for this category were all relatively close for the three athletes. Bissonnette had the most para-social retweets with 59 (44 percent); Vick had the second most at 41 (38 percent); and Grilli followed close behind Vick with 35 (26 percent).
Research question 1 asked what topics would be most prevalent in professional athletes' tweets. To find the answer, the tweets were then analyzed into one of ten categories. The category with the most tweets was "responding to fan" with 340 tweets (46.7 percent). This answers research question 2, which asks if athletes respond directly to fans. The results suggests athletes use twitter a channel for direct social communication with their fans. Of the three professional athletes analyzed, Vick tweeted the most toward his fans (51.8 percent), while Bissonnette tweeted the least toward his fans (9.4 percent). There was a significant drop from the top category...