Tweet, tweet, and repeat: How college students and social media bring you the news

Judith Penelope Roberts, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

This study examined what college students tweet about, how that information is presented, and if age and/or social media experience play a role in the tweets. The researcher followed 118 college student participants on Twitter in the fall of 2012 to determine if use the social media network to communicate news and found that the college students in the study did use Twitter to communicate news and receive the news. Their main topics of Twitter conversation included sports, politics, and arts and entertainment, and they tweeted more opinionated tweets than pure factual tweets. Additionally, the researcher found students in the study enjoyed their tweets being retweeted because they felt someone else either agreed with their opinion or found their tweet interesting or amusing enough to share with other individuals. Also, students do not respond often in tweets, preferring instead to give their own opinion regarding a news event. They want to contribute their opinion, but they are less interested in responding than they are creating their own content regarding news information.