Elite Female Athletes’ Perceptions of New Media Use Relating to Their Careers: A Qualitative Analysis

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Today’s elite athletes face increasing demands to develop a new media presence in order to build their personal brand and connect with a wide variety of stakeholders. Myriad studies have focused on athletes’ new media use by examining content posted online; however, few studies have examined new media usage from the athletes’ perspectives. Using the theoretical framework of self-presentation theory to uncover athletes’ new media perceptions, goals, and strategies, semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with six elite female athletes training for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Findings revealed that although athletes had goals for sharing their lives, developing connections, sponsorship, and self-promotion, they did not employ specific strategies to meet these goals or attempt to measure whether their goals were met. Gender-related findings included feeling pressure to post sexually suggestive images and receiving unwanted private communications from male fans. The implications are discussed within the paper.

Andrea N. Geurin is with the Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business, New York University, New York, NY.

Address author correspondence to Andrea N. Geurin at andrea.geurin@nyu.edu.
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