0
Becoming Fans & Communicating Values
While Defining International Sport Online
Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D.
Smithsonian Institut...
-OR-
Liveblogging, Learning Moments, &
Discourse Work in the USWNT Fandom on
Tumblr
Completing the Media Production
Process Cycle
• Research Q: In what ways are fans receiving,
using, (and resisting) discou...
Tumblr
• Social Networking Site (SNS) & Microblogging
platform
• Post Types: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio,
Video
...
Representations & Accounts
• What the USWNT fandom actually discusses
and creates are representations of the
USWNT, player...
Developing Cultural Competencies
Using a variety of representations & accounts:
• “Learning” Enculturation
–Observation, E...
Doing Knowledge (Refining) Right
• Discourse work:
discourses are ways of referring to or
constructing knowledge about a p...
Knowledge Construction &
Building the Fandom
• Incorporate & Display sets of “Insider Knowledge”
• Insider knowledge withi...
Built Through and Around
Existing Discourses…
• Family
• Sacrifice – Physical and Otherwise
• Nike: Great “ness”
• Dominan...
…Adding & Testing New Discourses
• Rivalries
• “Ships”
• Lack of Access (to media)
• Success & opportunity
• The Fandom IR...
Liveblogging:
One (re)Match to Define Them All
• 02 June 2013 – Canada vs. USA Women‟s
Soccer “friendly” - BMO field, Toro...
USWNT v. CANWNT
“The Rematch”
• Recalling: Olympic Semi-final 2012
– USWNT won 4-3 (ET)
• Rivalry: Contrasts & Blind Eye(s)
• Reactions: B...
Watershed moment: 92:39”
2880 notes – 1940 reblogs, 940 likes
970 notes – 538 reblogs, 432 likes
51 notes -23 reblogs, 28 likes
Adding Fuel to the Fire
• Fans
– Booing, “Judas”
– Chanting: “Where‟s your father?”
– Counting (Re: Erin McLeod holding th...
Chat on the Tag: #USWNT
• Justifications
• F*ck You & Gloating (USWNT fans)
• Class/Classy/Classless & Winning With Grace
...
131 notes – 56 reblogs, 75 likes
By the Numbers: Additional Data
• Top 20 posts from 02-03 June
– 18,844 notes of which
• 11,294 Reblogs
• 7,550 Likes
• 13...
Findings
• Enculturation – Discourse Work –
Monitoring
• Refining International Understandings
through the lens of Sportin...
Implications
• Many moments add up: the fandom
appears to actively use and repopulate
these information flows and cultural...
Next Steps
- - - - - - - -
• What and Who is missing? (Which
Discourses? Which voices?)
• Melding fan experiences IRL, NWS...
Thank you!
Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D.
ferriterm@si.edu (e)
@MeghaninMotion (tw)
http://meghaninmotion.com (w)
You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online
You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online
You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online
You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online
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You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online

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Tumblr offers a unique space through which United States Women's National soccer Team (USWNT) fans affirm a collective identity, while refining (trans)national representations for a broader imagined community. Social networking sites like Tumblr allow fans to gather and share resources - opening multimodal communication across spatial and temporal boundaries. Exploring this space through ethnography and discourse analysis, this paper unpacks the ways in which fans express their beliefs; using mediated discourse and user-generated content to learn, debate, and define athletes, nationalities, sexualities, gendered behavior, and social relationships. By appealing to an interpretive community with a constantly re-articulated cultural framework, fans mark group boundaries while defining global flows of professional women's football. Finally, a discursive space is established through a combination of asynchronous communication and liveblogging; one in which processes of acculturation to technology and to the values of the fandom pin down social relationships in specific sporting moments.

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  • Individuals learn about the world around them and social and cultural roles through a combination of experience, communication, and cultural practices. This paper has explored the ways in which learning has been applied in USWNT fandom and identities and knowledge sets are continually expressed, contested, and confirmed as a process of discursive activity - making choices with language.Finally, I would perhaps like to speculate that these digital discussions and communications demonstrate broadening mediated sport discourses. Also challenged through the process of exchange and communication, these choices are, in the process, moving the discourse of the current USWNT away from the heteronormative presentation of the ‘99ers (the USWNT that won the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup). This is a moment of note for the fandom and in (re)framing the values of this cultural resource from which information may be drawn (upon/from) in the process of articulating personal identities.
  • Transcript of "You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online"

    1. 1. Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D. Smithsonian Institution Archives
    2. 2. -OR- Liveblogging, Learning Moments, & Discourse Work in the USWNT Fandom on Tumblr
    3. 3. Completing the Media Production Process Cycle • Research Q: In what ways are fans receiving, using, (and resisting) discourses of mediated sport in this online space… • Retooling: What‟s happening here? – How do fans become (better) fans? – What kinds of activities/actions/tasks and which become rituals and responsibilities? – In what ways does the structure of Tumblr allow the fandom to achieve its goals? – How and why (and when) do they do what they DO
    4. 4. Tumblr • Social Networking Site (SNS) & Microblogging platform • Post Types: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio, Video • Actions: Post, Reblog, Like, Tag ♯USWNT plus Ask, Anon, FanMail & Reporting
    5. 5. Representations & Accounts • What the USWNT fandom actually discusses and creates are representations of the USWNT, players, other fans, opponents, and other popular culture narratives. • Mediated sport discourse, as well as USWNT fandom Tumblr disourses, provide accounts – version(s) of events that speak(s) to broader social relationships, suggest understandings of sexuality, national identities, and gender, and imply relationships of power.
    6. 6. Developing Cultural Competencies Using a variety of representations & accounts: • “Learning” Enculturation –Observation, Excitement, Picking up cues –Doing it Wrong & Knowing it (Asking for Help) • Being “Policed” • Doing It right Discourse Work • Refining Knowledge & Practice • Connecting Monitoring • Teaching others • Monitoring: Fandom Police & Reporting
    7. 7. Doing Knowledge (Refining) Right • Discourse work: discourses are ways of referring to or constructing knowledge about a particular topic of practice: a cluster (or formation) of ideas, images and practices, which provide ways of talking about, forms of knowledge and conduct associated with, a particular topic, social activity or institutional site in society (Hall, 1997: 6)
    8. 8. Knowledge Construction & Building the Fandom • Incorporate & Display sets of “Insider Knowledge” • Insider knowledge within the USWNT fandom often relates to player histories, player sexualities, user/follower identities and preferences, and relationships of competition or power within the sporting world. • This activity reinforces, reproduces, and occasionally confronts ideologies • Additional practices that make sets of knowledge available to “imagined community” – through tagging, categorization, and open calls/announcements about content production
    9. 9. Built Through and Around Existing Discourses… • Family • Sacrifice – Physical and Otherwise • Nike: Great “ness” • Dominance/Prowess of team (#1) • „99ers
    10. 10. …Adding & Testing New Discourses • Rivalries • “Ships” • Lack of Access (to media) • Success & opportunity • The Fandom IRL (games & supporters)
    11. 11. Liveblogging: One (re)Match to Define Them All • 02 June 2013 – Canada vs. USA Women‟s Soccer “friendly” - BMO field, Toronto • Dubbed “The Rematch” by organizing bodies and fans alike • Recalling nationalistic & sporting memories from the 2012 Olympic Games & Semi-final game between these teams ( referred to as #EPIC)
    12. 12. USWNT v. CANWNT
    13. 13. “The Rematch” • Recalling: Olympic Semi-final 2012 – USWNT won 4-3 (ET) • Rivalry: Contrasts & Blind Eye(s) • Reactions: Both sides USWNT winning 2-0 from two goals by Alex Morgan. In the 74th minute, Canadian American Sydney Leroux subs in…
    14. 14. Watershed moment: 92:39” 2880 notes – 1940 reblogs, 940 likes
    15. 15. 970 notes – 538 reblogs, 432 likes
    16. 16. 51 notes -23 reblogs, 28 likes
    17. 17. Adding Fuel to the Fire • Fans – Booing, “Judas” – Chanting: “Where‟s your father?” – Counting (Re: Erin McLeod holding the ball in 2012) • Commentators for Canadian broadcasters deem Leroux‟s celebration: – “Classless” – “Way too American” – “Ugh, you can keep her”
    18. 18. Chat on the Tag: #USWNT • Justifications • F*ck You & Gloating (USWNT fans) • Class/Classy/Classless & Winning With Grace • Gold Medals & Goals • Peacemakers – fans of both • Using both tags – #USWNT & #CANWNT • Passive on Moment, Active in Celebration • Explanations of (experiences of) Racism • What‟s NOT okay for fans to do/say
    19. 19. 131 notes – 56 reblogs, 75 likes
    20. 20. By the Numbers: Additional Data • Top 20 posts from 02-03 June – 18,844 notes of which • 11,294 Reblogs • 7,550 Likes • 13 Content Providers for Top 20 posts • 9 female, 1 male, 3 ? (no longer available/changed URL) • All of Top 20 = Photo posts; 9 are actually GIFs • Subject: • 9 related to Syd & “incident” • 4 of others & “quiet moments” • 10 game related images • 7 content providers – URL names reference USWNT or players
    21. 21. Findings • Enculturation – Discourse Work – Monitoring • Refining International Understandings through the lens of Sporting Competition • Sense of Community via Fandom • Access through and Value in Knowledge • Anyone is welcome, so long as you play by the rules
    22. 22. Implications • Many moments add up: the fandom appears to actively use and repopulate these information flows and cultural resources from which personal and group identities are derived and articulated in this digital space • Useful insights for community studies, communication studies; Marketing + Communications from official governing bodies and federations
    23. 23. Next Steps - - - - - - - - • What and Who is missing? (Which Discourses? Which voices?) • Melding fan experiences IRL, NWSL and USWNT resources, and Tumblr • How do fans move from newbie to fan to content provider to mastery (not necessarily linear!!) in this specific space?
    24. 24. Thank you!
    25. 25. Meghan Ferriter, Ph.D. ferriterm@si.edu (e) @MeghaninMotion (tw) http://meghaninmotion.com (w)
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