Submitted by Edward (Ted) M. Kian1, Ph.D*, Jimmy Sanderson2, Ph.D*
1* School of Media & Strategic Communication, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-4053
2* Department of Communication Studies, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634
Edward Kian is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University and an Endowed Welch-Bridgewater Chair in Sports Media. Jimmy Sanderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University and is Director of the Sports Communication BA Program.
This study examined individual branding efforts of marquee high school football prospects in the United States who had verified Twitter accounts. Specifically, this study investigated if top recruits who delayed public announcements of their college choice impacted their number of Twitter followers before and after they selected a specific school on National Signing Day, compared to recruits who committed early to one university long before National Signing Day. Results showed that recruits who may have attempted to increase their notoriety and Twitter followers by waiting to announce college choice are no more successful in doing so than those who commit to one school early. Further, uncommitted recruits generally did not have more followers than those who had been consistently committed to one school before signing day. Most prospects – regardless if they committed to a college long before or on National Signing Day – gained and did not lose Twitter followers over the entire examined period. This could be because sports fans on Twitter generally do not stop following athletes. It could also be that these fans found specific athletes interesting to follow and thus plan to continue doing so. (more…)