Social Sochi: using social network analysis to investigate electronic word-of-mouth transmitted through social media communities
by Marion E. Hambrick; Ann Pegoraro
International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing (IJSMM), Vol. 15, No. 3/4, 2014

Abstract: The 2012 London Summer Games earned the nickname 'the Twitter Olympics' for the social media coverage of the mega-event (Whiteside, 2014), and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games witnessed a marked increase in this activity. This study examined social media communities formed during the 2014 Olympic Games. Employing the word-of-mouth (WOM) conceptual framework and social network analysis (SNA), the study examined three social media communities within Twitter - #WeAreWinter, #CheersToSochiand #SochiProblems - and messages posted from February 7-25, 2014, incorporating one of the three hash tags. The findings revealed communities first characterised by spikes in growth often coinciding with viral posts, and later by eventual network decay as the Olympic Games concluded. The most viral messages contained either celebratory information or satirical content. Additionally, key users emerged in each community, most frequently individuals rather than corporate entities and media outlets. Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.

Online publication date:: Mon, 28-Sep-2015

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