The purpose of this study was to explore self-presentation among highly ranked high school football recruits on Twitter. The top 10 athletes in the ESPN 300 were selected for analysis. Specifically, an inductive thematic analysis of the athletes’ tweets was conducted using grounded theory and constant-comparative methodology. Tweets were analyzed from the beginning of the football season through national signing day on February 5. Five self-presentation categories emerged from the data analysis including the personalist, interactivist, promotionalist, culturalist, and vocationalist. Overall, the high school athletes in this study were more likely to use Twitter to engage in backstage (i.e., candid) self-presentation than front-stage (i.e., calculated) self-presentation. While these athletes did use front-stage self-presentation, the performances were characterized by a highly personalized approach to communicating. The candid nature of these athletes’ use of Twitter suggests that proactive education of how to properly use social-media platforms is essential.
Evan L. Frederick and Galen Clavio
Katie Lebel and Karen Danylchuk
The innovations of social media have altered the traditional methods of fan–athlete interaction while redefining how celebrity athletes practice their roles as celebrities. This study explored gender differences in professional athletes’ self-presentation on Twitter. Content analyses were used to compare male and female athletes’ tweets relayed by all professional tennis players with a verified Twitter account. Profile details and messages were scoured for themes and patterns of use during the time surrounding the 2011 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Goffman’s seminal 1959 theory of self-presentation guided the analysis. While athlete image construction was found to be largely similar between genders, male athletes were found to spend more time in the role of sport fan while female athletes spent more time in the role of brand manager.
Megan B. Shreffler, Meg G. Hancock and Samuel H. Schmidt
Unlike traditional media, which frames female athletes in sexualized manners and in socially accepted roles such as mothers and girlfriends, user-controlled social-media Web sites allow female athletes to control the image and brand they wish to portray to the public. Using Goffman’s theory of self-presentation, the current study aimed to investigate how female athletes were portraying themselves via their Twitter avatar pictures. A total of 207 verified Twitter avatars of female athletes from 6 sports were examined through a content analysis. The avatars from each player were coded using the following themes: athlete as social being, athlete as promotional figure, “selfie,” athletic competence, ambivalence, “girl next door,” and “sexy babe.” The results revealed that athletic competence was the most common theme, followed by selfie and athlete as social being. Thus, when women have the opportunity to control their image through social media they choose to focus on their athletic identities.
Andrea N. Geurin
Internet-based communication tools serve as a unique platform for self-presentation and impression management for both individuals and organizations ( Rui & Stefanone, 2013 ) and can also be used to achieve marketing communication goals ( Eagleman, 2013 ). Today’s elite athletes face increasing
Katie Lebel and Karen Danylchuk
This study investigated how professional athletes present themselves in their Twitter profile pictures and how athlete self-presentation is interpreted by a Generation Y audience (N = 206). Goffman’s theory of self-presentation guided the analysis with a specific focus on the notions of front- and backstage performances as they relate to impression-management strategies. Participants assessed a sample of profile photos of the most followed male and female athletes on Twitter by providing their first impressions of each athlete’s image and then evaluating photo favorability and effectiveness. This research provides evidence to suggest that individuals invest meaning in the social cues provided in athlete profile pictures. Athletes who highlighted a sport context were consistently ranked most favorably and effectively and were linked with positive word associations. These findings underscore the importance of a strategic alignment between social-media profile content, profile photos, and the brand established by athletes.
This case study explored how professional golfers participating in the Masters tournament used Twitter during the week of the event. Basing the research in self-presentation theory, the author conducted a content analysis of 895 tweets by 39 golfers. The results suggest that athletes are using Twitter to give fans both a front-stage and a backstage glimpse into their lives, with engaging with fans (front stage) being the most prominent. By balancing between front stage and backstage, the athletes are able to give fans a more intimate view of their life, while also maintaining a public persona that can please sponsors. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
Dorene Ciletti, John Lanasa, Diane Ramos, Ryan Luchs and Junying Lou
Based on a review of North American professional sports teams, this study provides insight on how teams are communicating commitment to sustainability principles and practices on their Web sites. Web sites for 126 teams across 4 different leagues were examined for content relative to triple-bottom-line dimensions. Global Reporting Initiative indicator codes and definitions were constructs for the model and aligned to social, environmental, and economic principles for categories of sustainability practices. Although teams are including sustainability information on their Web sites, the vast majority downplay economic issues and highlight social issues on their home pages and subsequent pages; communication about environmental factors varies by league. The study shows differences across leagues and suggests that although some teams are communicating a commitment to sustainability, others may not be considering stakeholder perceptions of their Web-site communications or whether sustainability efforts affect public consumption of league offerings or attitudes toward professional sports.
Heather A. Hausenblas and Kathleen A. Martin
Social physique anxiety (SPA) is a subtype of social anxiety that stems from self-presentational concerns about the appearance of one’s physique. The purpose of the present study was to examine correlates of SPA among individuals who instruct in a high social evaluation setting. Data from 286 female aerobic instructors (M age = 34.11) were collected on SPA, age, body mass index (BMI), exposure to the exercise setting (number of years spent instructing and participating in aerobic classes), and motive for instructing (leadership, affect enhancement, self-presentational). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that BMI, age, and motive for instructing accounted for 25% of the variance in SPAS scores, F(6, 223) = 12.11, p < .0001. Women who instructed for self-presentational motives had significantly higher SPA compared to women who instructed for leadership and affect enhancement motives. Contrary to hypothesis, the amount of exposure to the aerobic exercise setting was unrelated to SPA. Based on this result, we suggest that repeated exposure to a physique salient environment does not diminish women’s self-presentational concerns about their bodies.
Caitlyn R. Hauff
Objectification theory postulates that societal norms influence women to internalize cultural standards of beauty and thinness as their own. The consequences of objectification experiences include body shame, anxiety, body surveillance, and internalization of the thin ideal. Self-presentation theory suggests that individuals attempt to control and manage impressions when they perceive they are being evaluated by others. Previous research has documented the role of apparel in objectification of women and how women use apparel to create particular impressions. Research has also documented how objectification and self-presentation mediates reasons and motivations for exercise. However, qualitative explorations of women’s thoughts and feelings regarding exercise apparel as a motivator or deterrent for physical activity within these frameworks are lacking. In the current study, twelve recreationally active women were interviewed to understand their perceptions of exercise apparel in relation to their exercise environment and motivation to exercise. Two higher order themes emerged: exercise apparel as a tool for the optimal exercise experience (lower order themes: comfort, functionality of clothing, and reciprocal relationship between motivation and affect) and societal influences shaping exercise apparel choices (lower order themes: social influence and social comparison within the exercise setting, the cultural standard, and past experiences of evaluation). For the women in our study, exercise apparel serves as both a motivator and deterrent for exercise and certain exercise apparel contributes to self-presentation concerns within the exercise setting.
Lisa Cooke and Krista Chandler
Given the prevalence of inactivity among women, it is imperative to examine sources which may influence exercise behavior. Researchers have begun to examine the practical application of exercise imagery on involvement in physical activity (Giacobbi et al., 2003; Milne et al., 2008). Using the Applied Model of Imagery Use in Exercise (Munroe-Chandler & Gammage, 2005), imagery use, efficacy beliefs, and body image among female exercisers (N = 300) was investigated. Results revealed frequent use of exercise imagery, high efficacy beliefs, and positive body image cognitions among exercisers. Structural equation modeling revealed that efficacy beliefs did not mediate the relationship between imagery use and body image among a specific sample of female exercisers. However, the results do suggest that exercise imagery significantly predicts all four types of efficacy belief types (Efficacy Expectancy, Outcome Expectancy, Outcome Value, and Self-presentational Efficacy). Further examination of the suggested relationships in the applied model is needed.