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Evan L. Frederick and Galen Clavio

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Kevin Hull

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.

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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.

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Annelore Deprez, Peter Mechant and Tim Hoebeke

Literature states that incorporating social media as a journalistic tool in news reporting generates opportunities for journalists to not only dialogue with the audience but also to publish, to seek information, and to profile themselves or their organizations. This study broadens the empirical data on the journalistic use of social media, more specifically Twitter, by sports journalists in Flanders. A multimethod research approach was used to examine the content of tweets, the followings, and the profiles of the sports journalists. Results show that almost half of the sports journalists have a Twitter account, just over a third of them actively post tweets, and Twitter serves predominantly as an information source to learn more about athletes and their teams. Journalists also publish and communicate on Twitter and to a lesser extent use Twitter to interact with their audience. The study also reveals that Twitter is rarely used as a profiling tool for self-presentation.

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Kevin Hull and Norman P. Lewis

The rising popularity of Twitter and the concurrent decline in audience size for local television sportscasts has fueled concern that the new medium is displacing traditional broadcasters. A model is offered that identifies the salient latent constructs that make Twitter a more attractive medium for connected fans in ways that transcend Twitter’s obvious advantage in timeliness. Issues relating to Twitter’s brevity, the public–private blending of athletes, parasocial interaction between users and who they follow, community building, homophily, and self-presentation are all addressed. The model offers propositions that can be tested by future research and provides guidance to broadcasters willing to adapt to what Twitter offers. Understanding why Twitter engages sports fans in a manner unlike that of previous technologies offers application for sports broadcasters trying to maintain audience share, as well as guidance for researchers seeking to explain the allure of the 140-character medium.

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

understood as a form of impression management: the player controlling his self-presentation in the public realm. Goffman ( 1959 ) argues that the way people present themselves is a filtered version (on the front stage) where certain characteristics are emphasized and others are downplayed. For instance