As the Internet has grown in popularity since the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 1990’s, so too have collegiate sport message boards grown in popularity (Freeman, 2006; Skretta, 2007). The unique nature of message boards, where the consumer of content can also be the producer of content, presents sport communication scholars with a new frontier for scholarly inquiry. While there have been numerous studies of uses and gratifications of the Internet since the inception of the World Wide Web, there have been no studies which concentrated specifically on the characteristics, uses, and gratifications of collegiate sport message board users. This study, through the examination of a large convenience sample of collegiate sport message board users, sought to expand the horizons of sport communication research by filling this void in the literature.
The purpose of this study was to examine the users of Internet-based message boards which focus on individual collegiate athletic programs. Demographic and other characteristics were analyzed, and motivations for collegiate sport message board use were obtained, so that the underlying uses sought and gratifications obtained by these users could be identified. Specifically, the study examined a convenience sample of collegiate sport message board users drawn from 14 active message boards.
Overall, the findings of this study indicate that collegiate sport message boards are used primarily by affluent, well-educated White males over the age of 30 who enjoy the exchange of information and interaction with fellow fans. Based on the findings of this study, it was hypothesized that the gathering of information is the most consistent motive for collegiate sport message board use among all users in the sample, with social interaction also standing as a salient motive. Furthermore, based upon the dimensions of gratification for non-subscribers and subscribers, it was hypothesized that the nonsubscriber message board environment focuses on the interactive elements of message board usage, while the subscriber-only message board environment focuses on the informational elements. Another key finding of this study was the lack of correlation between interactivity and information gathering, as well as the lack of correlation between information gathering and various usage statistics. These results suggested that the labeling of “active” users on sport message boards should take into account both the amount of content that the user consumes (i.e., reading, viewing) and the amount of content that the user creates (i.e., posting).
|Advisor:||Pedersen, Paul M.|
|Commitee:||Fielding, Lawrence, Lim, Choonghoon, Miloch, Kimberly S., Whisenant, Warren|
|Department:||School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Mass communications, Recreation|
|Keywords:||Collegiate, Internet, Message boards, Sport message board users|
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