“My feckin heart!!”

Jerry WATKINS, Ann Pegoraro, Olan SCOTT

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review

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Due to its rapid growth as a site of sports fan conversation, the recent scholarly focus on the Twitter microblog platform as both a research method and an object of study has sparked considerable debate. Partly in response to this debate, this paper seeks to highlight the importance of cross-platform research design in order to generate insight into the identity of online fans and the meaning of their conversations. The site of investigation is the 2014 Spring Tour of the Qantas Wallabies, the national rugby union team of Australia. This tour was an indicator of national team performance in the lead-up to the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup and was anticipated to generate significant levels of online conversation between rugby union fans – but not from the wider national audiences usually attracted by a World Cup fixture. Rugby union is distinctive in that many of its fans are located within comparatively high-income earning brackets and can be anticipated to engage in simultaneous TV viewing of a fixture whilst interacting with other fans via smart devices and social media – so-called second-screen behaviour. Two research questions are posed: (1) does fan conversation differ by platform; and (2) is there a discernible difference between fan conversation on formal hashtags vs. informal conversation (Twitter only)? In response to these questions, the Ireland vs. Australia match on 21 November 2014 was chosen for in-depth analysis by this study as it returned the largest sample of Twitter data during the 2014 Spring Tour. Findings indicate (1) a marked difference between fan conversation on Twitter (unidirectional) and Facebook (debate-oriented); and (2) that Irish fans tweeted more about their team outside of the formal game hashtag than Australian fans – demonstrating that informal conversation on Twitter produced an identifiable theme related to fandom for one team over another.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRefereed proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Communication Association conference: Rethinking communication, space and identity
EditorsDavid Paterno, Michael Bourk, Donald Matheson
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Communication Association
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventThe Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference: Rethinking Communication, Space and Identity - Queenstown, Queenstown, New Zealand
Duration: 8 Jul 201510 Jul 2015


ConferenceThe Australian and New Zealand Communication Association Conference: Rethinking Communication, Space and Identity
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


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