A tip of the hat to Dr. Marion Hambrick, who brought the first social network analysis to sport social media research in an earlier edition of the International Journal of Sport Communication. This effort, by me, Dr. Burch, and Dr. Frederick, attempted to look at things from a systems theory perspective on Twitter during a live event.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to employ systems theory to analyze the social network of a Big Ten football team’s Twitter community. An identifiable network was found among the observed actors (N = 139), with fan accounts composing the largest percentage of the network. The number of observed reciprocal interactions was low, only 11.8% of the interactions and only 21.5% of the nodes. Traditional- media accounts frequently interacted with other media accounts, while fans inter- acted primarily with other fans. Overall, nontraditional-media accounts’ users were most focused on interactivity. Team-related accounts were almost nonexistent in the interactive network. A systems-theory-based network was found in terms of input, transformation, and output components. The feedback loop was the weak link in the network, indicating a possible lack of importance of direct feedback in Twitter social networks.

2012 Clavio Burch Frederick