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Your Festival in 140 Characters or Less Exploring Festivals’ Use of Twitter

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Kelly MacKay, Ph.D.,Danielle Barbe,Ryerson UniversityYour Festival in 140 Characters or Less*: Exploring Festivals Use of TwitterChristine Van Winkle, Ph.D., University of ManitobaElizabeth Halpenny, Ph.D.,University of AlbertaThis research was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Information Communication Technology is increasingly integrated into our everyday lives and while much research has examined user acceptance and diffusion in various workplace settings, research on technology adoption in leisure settings is limited.

ICT has been the subject of user experience research in some tourism and recreation contexts; however ICT use has received little attention in festival research and research that examines attendees use of mobile devices at festivals.

The research study Your Festival in 140 Characters or Less is part of the first stage in a multi-stage, exploratory, mixed methods study. The purpose of this stage is to gain an in depth understanding of how and why festival attendees are using mobile devices. 1

IntroductionIn the increasingly crowded field of festivals, social media platforms offer new channels for attracting, communicating, and engaging festival attendees60% of Twitters 200 million active users log in using a mobile device at least once a monthThis study will examine the nature and degree of Twitter use by three popular Canadian festivals, before, during, and after festival production/participation

In the increasingly crowded field of festivals, social media platforms offer new channels for attracting, communicating, and engaging festival attendees.

By reviewing Twitter use, with 60% of its 200 million active users logging in using a mobile device, additional evidence is provided on the ways individuals are engaging with the festival through mobile technology. This study will address the nature and degree of Twitter use by three popular Canadian festivals, before, during, and after festival production/participation.

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Festival BackgroundsData reported in this study originate from three popular Canadian festivals that occurred in the summer of 2013: Pride TorontoTaste of the Danforth (Toronto)Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

Pride Toronto is an arts and cultural festival that celebrates diverse sexual and gender identities. Receives more than 1,000,000 attendees over the 3 day course of the festival. Taste of the Danforth is a celebration of Greek food and culture. Receives more than 1,000,000 attendees over the 3 day course of the festival. Edmonton Fringe Festival is a theater festival with an accompanying outdoor festival space that hosts more than 700,000 visitors. In 2013, 117,000 tickets were sold over the 11 days

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Festival Twitter ProfilesFestival NameTwitter HandleN FollowersN FollowingMember SinceTotal N of TweetsTotal N of Tweets in Study PeriodPride Toronto @PrideToronto1434026201/26/20093032199Taste of the Danforth @Taste_Danforth42323806/26/2013403292Edmonton Fringe @edmontonfringe7616112706/19/20091924226

This table provides the basic Twitter background by each festival.

Pride Toronto, established their presence on Twitter first of all the festivals, capturing over 14,000 followers and Tweeting over 3000 times, however their total tweets during the study period was the lowest.

Taste of the Danforth became a Twitter user in June of last summer, just two months prior to the study period. Although Pride Toronto and Edmonton Fringe established Twitter accounts in 2009 and Taste of the Danforth only did so in 2013, its Twitter activity during the study period was slighter higher.

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Data CollectionData (i.e., tweets) represent three time points: one week prior to the festival, during the festival, one week after the festivalData on the profiles of the festival Twitter accounts were collected from www.twitter.com and www.followerwonk.comNcapture was used to collect a census of the tweets from each festivals Twitter handleThe top Tweets that included the hashtag (#) associated with each festival were collected from www.twitter.com. Tweets were transferred to IBM SPSS Statistics for coding and analysis. Inter-coder agreement was calculated using Cohens kappa (k = .860) based on a reproducibility reliability sample of 125 units

To be consistent with the multi-phase experience model and acknowledge the salience of real-time data when studying information technology in such settings, the data collected represents three time points: one week prior to the festival, during the festival, and one week after the festival.

Data on the profiles of the festival Twitter accounts were collected from www.twitter.com and www.followerwork.com.

The tweets collected for content analysis included a census of the tweets from each festivals Twitter handle (@PrideToronto, @Taste_Danforth, @edmontonfringe), and a collection of the top Tweets that included the hashtag (#) associated with each festival (#PrideTO, #TasteoftheDanforth #yegfringe)

NCapture, a web browser extension of the qualitative data analysis software NVivo, was used to collect the tweets from each festivals Twitter handle and the tweets that includes the festivals associated hashtag were collected from www.twitter.com.

The collection of tweets were then transferred to IBM SPSS Statistics for coding and analysis.

Inter-coder agreement was calculated using Cohens kappa (k = .860) based on a reproducibility reliability sample of 125 units5

Categories and Definitions for Twitter Content Analysis Nature of TweetNature of TweetDefinitionExampleSourcesConversationalA tweet that directly addresses another user(s) by asking/answering a question, involving them in the Tweet, or using @_________"@GaryLevyOnline you should totally come by, hang out and tweet with me for a bit next weekend at #PrideTO!"Gibbs & Dancs (2013)Hays et al (2013)Dann (2010)Java et al (2007)PromotionalA tweet marketing/promoting an event, activity, contest, website, artist, etc. that urges the user to partake in an action."There are SO many #PrideTO Affiliate Events! Visit http://t.co/rRGWZ1LMa6 for more info"Gibbs & Dancs (2013)Hays et al (2013)InformationalAny tweet that presents an update or live discussion of an event, reports news, or provides information, without urging users to partake in an action. "@PrideToronto Flag Raising today at noon on City Hall's green roof. Our special guest is Premier Kathleen Wynne #Topoli"Gibbs & Dancs (2013)Dann (2010)Hays et al (2013)

In developing the categories for coding the tweets, multiple sources of literature were reviewed.

The sources listed on the far right of the table assisted in defining the categories for the nature of each tweet: Conversational, Promotional, Informational, Status, Phatic, and Unclassifiable6

Categories and Definitions for Twitter Content Analysis Nature of TweetNature of TweetDefinitionExampleSourcesStatusAnswers the Twitter question What are you doing now?"at the #PrideTO flag raising!"Gibbs & Dancs (2013)Dann (2010)PhaticAny tweet containing statements of greetings to the broader Twitter community, textual soliloquys/monologues, undirected statements of opinion, or establish sociability rather than communicating information or ideasWe wish everyone a Happy #PrideTO. We're proud to serve Canada's most diverse city.Dann (2010)Merriam-Webster (2013)UnclassifiableTweets that do not belong in any of the categories aboveDub step diggery do! #entertainment #PrideTOGibbs & Dancs (2013)Dann (2010)

In developing the categories for coding the tweets, multiple sources of literature were reviewed.

The sources listed on the far right of the table assisted in defining the categories for the nature of each tweet: Conversational, Promotional, Informational, Status, Phatic, and Unclassifiable7

Categories and Definitions for Twitter Content Analysis Purpose of TweetPurpose of TweetDefinitionExampleSourcesInformation SharingAny tweet that provides information to followers about a particular event, subject, idea, etc.Join us for @PrideToronto flag raising on Jun 24 at 12pm at City Hall. Lunch provided. All welcome.Java et al (2007)Information SeekingAny tweet that asks/requests information from follower(s)What are you most looking forward to this weekend at #PrideTO?!Java et al (2007)Engagement/Relationship BuildingAny tweet used to engage, build a relationship with, or express appreciation to a follower(s)Happy First Day of #Summer and #PrideTO! Are y'all ready for this?Java et al (2007)OtherTweets that do not belong in any of the categories aboveToday's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality

Also determined through content analysis was the purpose of each tweet. Java et al (2007) provided a guideline for developing the categories information-sharing, information-seeking, friendship/relationship, other.

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Findings - GeneralA total of 870 tweets were captured82.9% of tweets originated from festivals and 17.1% from patrons using the #festivalname21.4% were retweetsThe majority (60.3%) of tweets were retweeted 3 times or fewerThe three festivals produced 65.8% of the tweets55% of all tweets contained links53.4% of links were to photos27.4% of links were to websitesLess frequent links were to videos (8.6%), Facebook (7.4%), and contests (2.3%)

In total. 870 tweets were captured270 tweets were associated with Pride Toronto328 tweets were associated with Taste of the Danforth272 tweets were associated with Edmonton Fringe Festival

82.9% (721) of these tweets originated from the festivals twitter page and 17.1% (149) came from patrons using the festivals associated hashtag.

Retweets were also included in data collection, accounting for 21.4% of tweetsThe majority of tweets were retweeted 3 times or fewer

The user/twitter handle of the writer of each tweet was also analyzed, showing that the festivals produced 65.8% of the [email protected] = 179 (20.6%)@Taste_Danforth = 202 (23.3%)@edmontonfringe = 191 (22%)(One of the categories that was analyzed was the user/handle of the tweet that was collectedTweets from the twitter user @Pridetoronto, @Taste_Danforth and @yegfringe As retweets were also collected, the number of tweets that each festivals twitter handle produced (65.8%) is not the same as the number of tweets collected from their twitter page (82.9%))

Reviewing the inclusion of links indicated that that over half 55% - of all tweets contained linksThe majority of links were to photos (53.4%)27.4% of links were the websites, Less frequent links include links to videos (8.6%), Facebook (7.4%), and contests (2.3%)

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Findings - GeneralNature of the tweet content28.5% was promotional26.2% was informational24.9% was conversational13.7% was phatic6% was statusLess than 1% was not classifiablePurpose of the tweet69.8% was for information sharing22.2% was for friendship/relationship building4% was for information seeking 4% was for other

Using the definitions shown previously for determining the nature of the tweet content, Promotional, informational, and conversational were fairly evenly distributed. The nature of the tweet helped to determine the inherent meaning of each tweet, answering the question of How are festivals and attendees engaging on Twitter? whether its to promote something, inform their attendees, engage in conversation, or to just answer the question what are you doing right now?

The purpose of the tweet was mainly information-sharing, with some focus on friendship/relationship building. Very few were classified as information-seeking or other. - The purpose of the tweet answers Why are festivals and attendees engaging on Twitter to build a deeper understanding of the festival-attendee relationship through social media platforms. Tweets with an information-sharing purpose provide the least opportunity for engagement, whereas information seeking and friendship/relationship building tweets offer a direct opportunity to engage with the festival using Twitter

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Frequency of Festival Related @ MentionsMention TypeFrequency%Festival Partner/Promoter21743.1Attendee/General Public15430.6Festival + Partner5711.3Festival + Attendee234.6Partner + Attendee234.6Festival173.4Other132.6Total504100

When considering who/what (i.e., @___) was mentioned in the tweets, the festival alone occurred only 3.4% of the time.In connection with a festival partner, this rose slightly to 11.3%. The most frequent category of mention was a festival partner/promoter (e.g., sponsor, entertainer) at 43.1%, followed by attendees/general public 30.6%.

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FindingsThere was no significant relationship found between the nature of the tweet and the stage of the festivalDifferences across the festival stages were evident in other variables:RetweetsUser Mentions (@________)LinksPurposePreDuringPost28.7% of tweets 68.3% of tweets 3% of tweets

There was no significant relationship found between the nature of the tweet (informational, conversational, promotional, phatic, status, unclassifiable) and the stage of the festival However, differences across the festival stages did exist for other variables:RetweetsUser Mentions (@________)LinksPurpose

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Patterns Pre-FestivalRetweets were more likely to occur pre-festival than in any other stages (52.2%)Festival + attendee mentioned together was twice as likely to occur before (68.2%) vs. during (31.8%) the festivalRT @darrylwolk Looking forward to @Taste_Danforth!The inclusion of links in the tweet was lower than expected before the festivals (23.6%)Links to websites were higher than expected pre-festival (38.5%)Information seeking purposes were more likely to occur before the festivals (45.7%)Relationship building purposes more likely to occur before the festival (55.5%)

250 tweets occurred pre-festivalPride Toronto = 89 (35.6%)Taste of the Danforth = 125 (50%)Edmonton Fringe Festival = 36 (14.4%)Retweets were more likely to occur before the festival than other stages (X2 = 63.722, df = 2, p = 0.000)The festival and attendee mentioned together was twice as likely to occur before vs. during the festival (X2 = 11.981, df = 6, p = 0.062)Percentages show the % within type of mentionExample: RT @darrylwolk Looking forward to @Taste_Danforth!Pre-Festival LinksLinks to photos were lower than expected, however links to websites were higher than expected pre-festival (X2 = 37.646, df = 8, p = 0.000). Pre-Festival Purpose of TweetsInformation seeking (n=16 pre-festival, 1.8% of total tweets, 45.7% within purpose of tweet) and friendship/relationship building (n=60 pre festival, 6.9% of total, 55.5% within purpose of tweet) tweets were higher than expected before the festival(X2 = 10.851, df = 6, p = 0.09)

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Patterns During FestivalThe majority (68.3%) of tweets took place during the festivalRetweets were less than expected during the festival (45.2%)Links to photos were most likely to occur during the festival (84.1%)Information-sharing purpose was more likely to occur during the festival (69.4%)

68.3% (594) tweets occurred during the festivalPride Toronto = 171 (28.8%)Taste of the Danforth = 202 (34%)Edmonton Fringe = 221 (37.2%)There were less retweets that expected during this stage (45.2%) (X2 = 63.722, df = 2, p = 0.000)71.8% of all links were in tweets that occurred during the festivalLinks to photos were most likely to occur during the festival (84.1% of links to photos and 44.2% of all links)Information-sharing purpose was more likely to occur during the festival (69.4%) (X2 = 10.851, df = 6, p = 0.09)

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Patterns Post Festival3% of tweets were post-festivalThe inclusion of links were more likely to occur after the festival (4.6%)Friendship/Relationship building purposes were less likely after the festival (1%)Other purposes, tweets that did not belong in any of the categories, were more likely post festival (5.7%)

3% of tweets were post festivalPride Toronto = 10 (38.5%)Taste of the Danforth = 1 (3.8%)Edmonton Fringe = 15 (57.7%)The inclusion of links was higher than expected after the festival (4.6%)Other purposes, tweets that did not belong in any of the categories were more likely post festival

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ConclusionConsistent with the in the here and now essence of TwitterThere was no significant relationship found between the nature of the tweet and the stage of the festival, however other aspects did varyPre-festival tweets reflect some anticipatory content: @kerryrwerry: YAY!! The Pride Parade is next Saturday!! I'm so pumped! It's gonna be awesome! @PrideTorontoDifferential use of links across festival periodsWebsite links pre-festival: Twitter used to promote and direct people to the festival and related eventsHigher photo links during festival: In the moment happenings to promote specific events or actions at the festivals

Findings show that the data is consistent with the in the here and now essence of Twitter, with most of the posts happened during the festivals and very little Twitter activity after the festivals ended. The same was true for RTs. There was no significant relationship found between the nature of the tweet and the stage of the festival, however other aspects did varyPre-festival tweets did reflect some anticipatory content with festival and attendee mentioned together being twice as likely to occur before vs. during the festival with tweets such as @kerryrwerry: YAY!! The Pride Parade is next Saturday!! I'm so pumped! It's gonna be awesome! @PrideToronto. There is some indication of differential use of links. The prevalence of website links pre-festival demonstrates use of Twitter to promote and direct people to the festival and related eventsHigher occurrence of photo links during the festival draws on the in the moment happenings to promote specific events or actions at the festivals (e.g., Tweet us your parade photos! #PrideTO). 16

ConclusionFestivals are not taking advantage of the unique opportunity to communicate with attendees via social media post festivalPost visit communication has been noted as a valuable opportunity to maintain contact and encourage visitors to continue processing their on-site experienceFestivals could consider information seeking and relationship building tweets after the festival to evaluate and encourage repeat attendanceFurther research should explore why this is not occurring and examine these and other marketing implications

The research presented here shows that the festivals are not taking advantage of the unique opportunity to communicating with attendees post visit, using social media. Post-Festival communication has been noted as a valuable opportunity for organizations to maintain contact and to encourage visitors to continue processing their on-site experience cognitively and affectively Festivals could consider information seeking and relationship building tweets after the festival to evaluate experience and encourage repeat attendance. Further research should explore why this is not occurring and examine these and other possible marketing implications of engaging with attendees post festival. These early findings highlight patterns of Twitter use in the festival context and provide initial directions for research and practice in social media marketing and participant/tourist engagement at festivals.17

THANK YOU!Questions?

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Thank youQuestions?