Sport Management


Master of Science (MS)


Clark Zealand


athletes, college, experience, phenomenology, social media, sports


Communication Technology and New Media | Social Media


This study investigates the intersection where the shared experience of sports meets the shared experience of social media. Empirically quantitative literature and data regarding social media has been well-documented from the perspective of understanding macro-level trends (Duggan & Brenner, 2012; Lenhart, et al., 2010). However, few to no studies have sought to learn the views, feelings, and experiences of unique populations from the micro, individual level. This method of research threatens to silence the voice of the individuals of select populations, and offers no hope of their ever being heard. Specifically, this study seeks to understand how collegiate athletes at a NCAA Division III Midwestern, United States liberal arts institution experience social media. The study at hand employs a qualitative form of data collection entitled phenomenology, and includes nine participants. Results revealed athletes texturally experience social media in dimensions of Visuality, Patronage, Connectedness, and Presentability while the experiential structural motifs were found to be Responsibility, No Difference, and Nescience. The complexity and interrelatedness of the social media experience is undeniable. The specific experiences that are unique to athletes must be studied further to be understood more completely.