Information technology enabled followership on social media platforms: a multimethod analysis of Twitter

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Vishal Uppala (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Prashant Palvia

Abstract: This research describes and explicates the phenomenon of information technology enabled (ITE) followership on social media platforms. Drawing from extant followership literature, ITE followership is proposed and explored. One social media platform, Twitter, is studied in depth. In Phase I of this research, focus groups of Twitter users are interviewed. Using the data from the focus groups, Twitter’s ITE followership is conceptualized, assumptions made about this ITE followership are verified, and key constructs associated with this phenomenon are identified. In Phase II of this research, Twitter data is collected from the followers and the followed, and using linguistic analytics via IBM Watson Personality Insights, the identities formed as a byproduct of leader-follower interaction are examined and evaluated. In Phase III of this research, applying the key constructs identified in Phase I, a survey instrument is developed. In addition, a survey of Twitter followers is undertaken to understand the impact of follower characteristics (sense of power, electronic courage, and social capital) on follower behaviors (voice, helping, empowering, disempowering) in the followers’ Twitter role. The major contributions of this research include the following: defining the phenomenon of ITE followership on social media platforms focusing on Twitter, illustrating inquiries into ITE followership from multiple perspectives using the constructionist and role-based lenses, applying multiple methods (focus groups, big data analytics, and a survey) to investigate Twitter’s ITE followership, and broadly, offering the examination of ITE followership as an answer to theorizing social media phenomena on information technology platforms.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Follower, Followership, Leadership, Social media, Twitter, Watson
Social media

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