Training versus monitoring: A qualitative examination of athletic department practices regarding student-athletes and twitter

Jimmy Sanderson, Blair Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Twitter has created a number of issues for collegiate athletic programs. Via their tweets, student-athletes have sparked public relations issues for athletic departments and educational institutions. This research examined the messages student-athletes receive from athletic department officials and coaches about Twitter. Semi-structured interviews with 20 student-athletes at a Division I school were conducted. Results revealed that these messages occurred in 1 of 3 areas: (a) (non)training, (b) surveillance I monitoring, and (c) reactive training. The results indicate that student-athletes are left to their interpretations of what constitutes inappropriate Twitter content while also being subjected to monitoring. Education about Twitter typically occurs after a violation of an unclear or unknown policy. This reactionary and ambiguous approach to Twitter appears to be doing little to mitigate controversial tweets. Athletic administrators are encouraged to devote resources to front-end, rather than back-end, training and to define clear boundaries for Twitter usage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-111
Number of pages5
JournalQualitative Research Reports in Communication
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Ambiguity
  • Social media
  • Sport communication
  • Student-Athletes
  • Twitter

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