This post was written by a student in the Stanford’s Winter 2011 Networked Rhetoric class; it was designed to focus in on a particular source or research experience related to his/her project on social media and digital culture . See a more detailed overview of this assignment.
For my class on web rhetoric, I am doing research on how social media is changing the world of sports. In particular, I will be focusing on how social media can be better leveraged to enhance both the fan experience and the team business performance. The current climate is an especially interesting time for this research topic because social media is blossoming into increasingly sophisticated formats while teams are only starting to explore social media opportunities in depth. It will be fascinating to see what changes I observe from teams’ social media usage even as I complete my research and write my paper.
In efforts to take a peek at the future of social media in sports, I found an e-book aptly named “Sports Social Media Predictions 2011” compiled by Jason Peck. It consists of predictions made by various people knowledgeable in the fields of sports, marketing and social media. Three areas that were mentioned by multiple people were the use of geolocations, gaming and web deals. These three elements can be considered independently, but in reality, they will likely be used in tandem. For example, fans who check-in at a sporting event using social media can participate in a competition that rewards winning fans with discounted tickets. The overarching idea is that fans gain incentives to get in touch with teams and their own competitive natures, while teams gain web presence that can translate to more profits.
The three aforementioned social media elements provide avenues of research that I can further explore. The biggest challenge comes from showing that these trends can actually be financially beneficial to teams, rather than just being able to enrich the fan experience. In particular, something to note is whether teams are turning to social media primarily to remain competitive in a changing business climate, or whether social media inherently adds value to teams. Either way, teams are experimenting with social media in unprecedented ways, which should make for very engaging research on my part.