Title: Fan moderation of professional sports organisations' social media content: strategic brilliance or pending disaster?

Authors: Michelle O'Shea; Abel Duarte Alonso

Addresses: School of Management, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2571, Australia ' School of Management, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC, NSW 2571, Australia

Abstract: A recent body of literature has begun to address how and why sports organisations can benefit from and leverage new technologies. Using a case study methodology, the present research study addresses this contemporary sports managerial and marketing issue by considering the social media activities of an Australian professional sports organisation. Principally, the study examines the strategies the organisation is using to communicate through and moderate social media content. Instead of employing paid marketing professionals, the organisation's social media activities are administered by unpaid members and fans. By surveying the organisation's social media moderators and by conducting in-depth semi structured interviews with the organisation's managerial and marketing employees, the proceeding paper considers the potential and constraints associated with managing the organisation's social media content in this way. While respondents acknowledge several opportunities arising from the organisation's involvement in social media, especially with regard to younger users, potential ethical and legal ramification were simultaneously addressed. Thus, finding a balance between open, real-time communication forums while at the same time monitoring user content may continue to be dependent on the dedication, time, and ethical judgment of sports club fan moderators.

Keywords: professional sports organisations; web based communities; virtual communities; online communities; social media moderators; potential; fan moderation; sports fans; social media content; Australia; ethical judgment; ethics; legal ramifications; law.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2013.057219

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2013 Vol.9 No.4, pp.554 - 570

Published online: 13 Oct 2013 *

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