Professional sports has really embraced social media to promote its product, connect with fans and release news and updates regarding teams and players. Of course there’s a trade-off to the information that they, being the league, teams, and players release online. Professional sports entities also use the online fan community to gather information about their clients and keep tabs on what’s being said and done.
Realizing how important it is to interact with fans and utilize the information available, professional sports teams want to maximixe the opportunity.
The Edmonton Oilers are looking for a manager of social media. Job description and requirements are below:
It’s understandable that the team wants to have metrics in place to make sure their communication and social media practices are sound. It also doesn’t hurt to target their demographic with new communication methods such as Tweet-ups, etc. But if the role of this person is to monitor and engage with bloggers, the issue of authenticity is raised.
It would be hard for an employee of the Oilers to gain any legitimacy in an online fan community. Knowing that an employee is lurking and trying to fit in would instantly raise the guards of fans, who may question what the motives of the employee truly are. According to Amato (2005), authenticity is the most important community value and is established by originality and by being a natural community member. Authenticity positions status hierarchy and establishes social boundaries. Knowing this, it’d have to be assumed that an employee of the Oilers would not want to reveal their position to an online fan community. This of course puts the onus on fans and bloggers to detect when an Oilers employee is trying to infiltrate the community or influence other fans.
Amato, C.H., Okleshen, C.L. & Shao, A.T. (2005). An Exploratory Investigation into NASCAR Fan Culture. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 14 (2), pp. 71-83.