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Wednesday, July 29 • 10:46 - 12:15
"Examining the social network of Canadian national sport organizations"

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Authors: Michael Naraine and Milena Parent

While social media “technologies are being embraced by various sport organizations” (Blaszka, Burch, Frederick, Clavio, & Walsh, 2012, p. 436), there is a notable absence in the literature regarding how not-for-profit organizations and, more specifically, national sport organizations (NSO), have dealt with these developments. While Abeza and O’Reilly (2014) did document the communications of this group, there is a lack of understanding of the stakeholders that comprise a NSO’s social media network. This paper seeks to explore the social network of NSOs to determine how stakeholders are positioned and advantaged within said network. By doing so, practitioners and social media-centred sport scholars would have greater recognition of which stakeholders are able to redistribute or distort messages to other actors in the network and, more importantly, which stakeholders should be targeting their message to given strength and ability to maximize impressions to other followers. The study was delineated to Twitter, given the access capabilities of the platform, and the saliency of Twitter-centred sport research (cf. Abeza, O’Reilly, & Nadeau, 2014). The 61 NSOs listed on the Canadian Heritage website were stratified into five categories based upon their Twitter follower counts (i.e., high, mid-high, mid-low, low, and not applicable). After this stratification, two NSOs from the low group were randomly selected for study (the low group was chosen given the resources available). Both Fencing Canada and Luge Canada were cross-examined to determine follow ties amongst all actors in their respective networks. Ties were noted in an Excel spreadsheet using NodeXL and imported into UCINET 6 (Borgatti, Everett, & Freeman, 2002). UCINET 6 revealed several statistical measures of the networks including degree centrality, Freeman betweenness, and Eigenvector centrality. Data was also visually examined through NetDraw (Borgatti, 2002), a network visualization tool to map the actors within the NSOs network vis-à-vis sociograms. Results for Fencing Canada will be presented at the conference, as data is still being collected for Luge Canada with a vast number of actors in that network (n = 1008). The results from Fencing Canada highlight that well-connected actors in the social network tend to be current athletes and major sport organizations (e.g., international governing bodies). While these stakeholders may be difficult to target to further disseminate a tweet (i.e., through a RT) because of their status and passive activity, Canadian NSOs should consider crafting their messages with these stakeholders tagged (i.e., mentioned) to increase the chances of further dissemination. An exploratory work of this nature sets the stage for cross-national comparatives of NSO networks to determine similarities, differences, and cross-reference strength of stakeholders. Future work can also consider interviews with social media managers of these organizations to determine their perceptions of well-positioned, centralized actors in their network.

avatar for Michael Naraine

Michael Naraine

PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa
I am a SSHRC doctoral fellowship holder studying national sport organizations and new media. My research agenda also includes strategic management, social network analysis, and sport governance/stakeholder management.

Wednesday July 29, 2015 10:46 - 12:15
(9th Floor) TRS 3-176 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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