From loving the hero to despising the villain: Exploring sports fans social identity management on Facebook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This research explored how University of Cincinnati football fans used Facebook to manage a social identity threat arising from head football coach Brian<br>Kelly leaving the school to become the head coach at the University of Notre Dame. A thematic analysis of 717 wall postings in the ‘‘Get Out of Our City Brian Kelly’’ Facebook group was conducted. Results revealed that fans responded to this social identity threat in the following ways: (a) rallying, (b) stigmatizing, (c) victimization, (d) intimidation, and (e) degradation. The results suggest that social media sites are prime vehicles for sports fans to collectively manage social identity crises. Social media enables fans to perpetuate messages that elevate group distinctiveness, minimize in-group issues, and<br>derogate out-group members.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-509
JournalMass Communication and Society
StatePublished - 2013

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