Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Examination of Social Media in NCAA Dii Institutions

Academic journal article Journal of Contemporary Athletics

Examination of Social Media in NCAA Dii Institutions

Article excerpt

Literature Review


Over the past two decades communication has evolved as technological advances have facilitated the exchange of information through global networks such as online social media. This interface has emerged as a popular mode of expression and interchange (Montavlo, 2011), and with it has flourished the rampant use of social networking sites among a predominant proportion of teens and adults (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith, & Zickhur, 2010).

The first digital social media appeared in 1990, and in 2000 the growing networks allowed individuals with common interests to interact with each other online (Edosomwan, et ah, 2011). By 2006, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedln, and Myspace launched, triggering a revolution in social media as its popularity skyrocketed (Edosomwan, et ah, 2011).

The substantial increase in social media use caused various organizations to transform their approach to marketing communications in order to take advantage of its far-reaching effects (Carraher, Parnell, & Spillan, 2009; Edosomwan, et ah, 2011; Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Recent surveys indicate that 86% of marketing professionals and 100% of accredited higher education institutions in the U.S. use social media ("New Mzinga survey reveals 86 percent of organizations use social technologies for business purposes,") as a marketing tool (Mzinga, 2009; Barnes & Lescault, 2010).

Following suit are college athletic departments, known to use their private websites as a branding tool and expected to develop future promotion by social media video sharing sites (Cooper, 2010). Yet current research on the use of social media by athletic departments is limited with narrow sample sets and scanty literature. This study aims to expand that literature by investigating the role of social media within NCAA Division II athletic departments. The purpose of this study is to examine: what social media platforms are used by NCAA Division II athletic departments, how they are used; and how they are perceived as a marketing tool.

Social Media Defined

Mangold and Faulds (2009) define social media as "encompassing a wide range of online, word-of-mouth forums including blogs, company sponsored discussion boards and chat rooms, consumer-to-consumer e-mail, consumer product or service ratings websites and forums, Internet discussion boards and forums, moblogs (sites containing digital audio, images, movies, or photographs), and social networking websites" (p. 358). The authors' definition illustrates the wide variety of social media that exists, and indicates that social media is frequently classified by the functions it provides.

The three types of most widely- recognized social media include social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, and social media video sharing sites. Social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter allow individuals to construct profiles and share connections (Boyd & Ellison, 2007); social bookmarking sites (Reddit, Stumble Upon) provide public repositories of independently tagged bookmarks (Marlow, Naaman, Boyd, & Davis, 2006); and social media video sharing sites (Youtube) allow users to upload and share videos (Broitman, 2010). The wide range of social media platforms allow businesses an array of options to approach its users.

Business Use of Social Media

Social media infiltration by businesses is on the rise (Carraher, et ah, 2009; Edosomwan, et ah, 2011; Mangold & Faulds, 2009), and beyond the technology sector where social media positions first became prevalent, companies such as Kronos, Philips, and Waste Management have all hired social media managers to improve their online marketing strategy (Montavlo, 2011).

Social media as an integrated marketing communications tool. Many businesses are using social media as an integrated marketing communications tool (IMC), which is an evolving practice that changes as new technologies become prevalent (Boone & Kurtz, 2007; Mangold & Faulds, 2009; Montavlo, 2011). …

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