Popular social media platforms have faced recent criticism because of the tendency for users to exhibit strongly negative behaviors, threatening the open, prodemocratic discourse that proponents believe was made possible when social media sites first gained widespread adoption a decade ago. A conceptual model suggests that the microblogging site Twitter, and especially sport-themed debate through hashtags, can still realize these ideals. Analyzing a dataset of tweets about the firing of former Major League Baseball pitcher Curt Schilling by ESPN on April 20, 2016, as well as a qualitative questionnaire given to the users of the hashtag, this study attempted to ascertain how closely the discourse comes to realizing the ideal of the Habermasian public sphere. The findings demonstrate that although users draw value from participation in the discussion, they are less inclined to desire interaction with other hashtag users, particularly those who disagree with them. This suggests that Twitter hashtags provide an open forum that approaches the participatory requirement of the public sphere, but the lack of back-and-forth engagement suggests the medium is not ideal for the generation of deliberative public opinion.
Brendan O’Hallarn, Stephen L. Shapiro, Marion E. Hambrick, D.E. Wittkower, Lynn Ridinger and Craig A. Morehead
This study attempted to uncover the paradoxical effects of an athlete’s negative publicity based on the theories of negativity bias, fuzzy trace, and processing fluency. The researcher tested a boundary condition in which repeated claims about an athlete’s negative publicity interacted with the temporal delay of consumers’ evaluation, which, in turn, led to a decrease in the adverse effects of negative publicity. The results of two online experiments demonstrated that dividing attention and cognitive resources in order to encode and retrieve various types of information caused the detailed contextual memory of each account of the athlete’s negative publicity to fade over time, leaving behind merely a gist memory of the celebrities. In the current study, infamy turned into fame, and the consumer’s judgment of the athletes became more positive. The current study may help expand existing research paradigms by further developing our theoretical understanding of the negative publicity effects.
Patti Millar and Alison Doherty
Capacity building is a targeted approach to addressing organizational challenges by focusing development efforts on specific needs. Utilizing Millar and Doherty’s process model of capacity building, the purpose of this study was to (a) gain insight into the nature of the conditions and processes of capacity building in the community sport context and (b) examine the veracity of the proposed model. Interviews were conducted with organizational members from two community sport organizations that were purposefully chosen and happened to have introduced new programs: one that experienced successful capacity building that enhanced program and service delivery and one that experienced unsuccessful capacity building where organizational needs were not effectively addressed. Findings revealed that the thoroughness of the needs assessment, the selection of appropriate capacity building strategies, and readiness to build capacity were key factors in the (lack of) success of the capacity building efforts. Implications for practice and future research on organizational capacity building are presented.
Jessica L. David, Matthew D. Powless, Jacqueline E. Hyman, DeJon M. Purnell, Jesse A. Steinfeldt and Shelbi Fisher
Twitter, the popular social-media platform, is a staple in intercollegiate athletics. Although it is often regarded merely as a pastime, Twitter boasts advantages and disadvantages to college student athletes and their programs. This is primarily due to the nature of interactions and exchanges that take place between student athletes and the general public, be they fans, critics, or somewhere in between. Using a semistructured protocol, the researchers conducted a 75-min focus-group interview with 7 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student athletes to examine the psychological impacts of Twitter use. A modified version of consensual qualitative research was used for data analysis. Results indicated that student athletes were heavily influenced and affected by Twitter use across various domains in their lives. Participants reflected on both advantages (e.g., avenue for advocacy and moral support and promoting team cohesion) and disadvantages (e.g., receipt of critical tweets and detrimental performance implications) of using the microblogging platform, thereby corroborating extant literature and providing a more balanced perspective of Twitter’s resulting impact. The researchers explicated practical implications including improved social-media training and the development of best practices to support student athletes in their responsible use of Twitter. Further research is necessary to better understand the differences in experiences of student athletes competing in revenue-generating sports compared with those competing in non-revenue-generating sports.
Nicholas Burton and Cheri Bradish
This research examined the efforts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to frame ambush marketing as an ethically or morally dubious practice and thus influence consumer opinion. After an extensive documentary content analysis of internal Olympic-marketing and Games-development archival materials from the International Olympic Committee’s Library and Olympic Studies Centre, the study’s findings offer new insight into the IOC’s overt influence on ambush discourse as a strategic communication objective in combatting ambush marketing. Results evidence a deliberate attempt on the part of stakeholders to employ “name and shame” public relations and educational campaigns to position ambush marketing as ethically objectionable. In thus examining the discursive power wielded by the IOC, the study offers new perspective on the implications of such ethical framing and illustrates the way that ambush-marketing research and conceptualizations have been defined by rights holders’ influence and censure.
Colin D. McLaren and Kevin S. Spink
Past research in sport has identified a relationship between communication as a social property (i.e., acceptance, distinctiveness, positive conflict, and negative conflict) and task cohesion. Operationalizing communication in this manner is viewing the construct through a social lens. Given that forming task-cohesion perceptions also might be linked to how members exchange information, examining the relationship between communication as information exchange and cohesion appears worthwhile. Results from a hierarchical regression (N = 176) revealed that team member communication as both a social property and information exchange positively predicted perceived task cohesion while controlling for team performance (