The influence of time of year on the tweeting behavior of Major League Baseball teams
Arth, Zachary William
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This study analyzed the methods used to communicate with followers on Twitter by Major League Baseball teams. Additionally, a temporal comparison of tweet strategies was conducted to understand if teams tweet differently based on whether it is the season or offseason. Prior to this research, an analysis of sports organizations and their use of social media sites to communicate with fans had not been undertaken. Tweets were downloaded from all 30 MLB teams twice, once during the summer of 2015 and once during the winter of 2016. Tweets were coded and analyzed based on Lovejoy and Saxton’s (2012) information-community-action framework. Specific patterns emerged, indicating that teams use the season to provide information to followers; the offseason is where teams attempt to build and strengthen the online community. Tweets attempting to elicit action, while more frequent during the offseason, were underutilized compared to information and community messages. Information tweets also received the highest number of likes and shares regardless of time of year. Likes and shares also increased during the offseason, regardless of tweet category. Overall, MLB teams appear successful in their use of Twitter as a means to connect with their fans.