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THE ACCELERATION OF MEDIA SPORT CULTURE

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There has been a rapid and widespread increase in the use of the micro-blogging and social networking platform Twitter (http://twitter.com) by professional athletes, sports clubs, leagues and fans. For instance, 'tweets' or messages of up to 140 characters offer high-profile athletes like Lance Armstrong (cycling), Serena Williams (tennis), Usain Bolt (track and field), Lote Tuqiri (rugby) and Shaquille O'Neal (basketball) the ability to communicate instantaneously with fans, friends and observers, bypassing the gate-keeping functions of journalists, publicists and sports officials. 'Tweeting' has added an unpredictable and occasionally controversial dimension to the types of public expression, promotion and representation associated with media sport. This paper argues that Twitter fits within a range of internet-based and mobile communications practices, including text messaging and instant messaging, that are evidence of an accelerated information order in which telepresence - 'keeping in touch' without literally being in touch - is a pervasive feature. The existence of this order highlights important changes in both the production and consumption of media content, and necessitates a shift away from broadcast-centric understandings of media sport towards those that properly acknowledge the increasing significance of networked digital communications.
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Keywords: Web 2.0; journalism; media sport cultural complex; mobile communications; social networking; sport media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Arts, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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