Title: Speak for yourself: analysing how US athletes used self-presentation on Twitter during the 2012 London Paralympic Games

Authors: Joshua R. Pate; Robin Hardin; Brody Ruihley

Addresses: School of Hospitality, Sport, and Recreation Management, James Madison University, 261 Bluestone Drive, MSC 2305, Harrisonburg, VA, 22807, USA ' Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, University of Tennessee, 1914 Andy Holt Avenue, HPER 354, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA ' School of Human Services, University of Cincinnati, P.O. Box 210068, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA

Abstract: This study explored the content US Paralympic athletes posted to Twitter during the 2012 London Paralympic Summer Games. Goffman's (1959) self-presentation concept provided a foundation for describing the Twitter activity of the athletes through frontstage and backstage performances. Data were collected from Twitter accounts of 76 US Paralympic athletes who were on the 2012 US Paralympics Twitter page members list. Four themes were constructed on the Twitter content: backstage performances of: a) self; b) interaction and frontstage performances of: c) Paralympic promotion; d) reporting news. Athletes used Twitter to blur the lines between backstage and frontstage performances, providing glimpses of their private time but also serving as a marketing arm for US Paralympics. The importance of understanding what athletes were tweeting during this time lies in the marketing function they performed due to the lack of US media covering the event.

Keywords: 2012 Paralympic Games; Twitter; self-presentation theory; social media; journalism; United States Olympic Committee; US paralympians; International Paralympic Committee; IPC; paralympic athletes; London Paralympics; USA; United States; athlete tweets; sport marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2014.072007

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2014 Vol.15 No.3/4, pp.141 - 162

Received: 19 Jul 2014
Accepted: 13 Mar 2015

Published online: 28 Sep 2015 *

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