Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lance Armstrong failed social media, too, study suggests

Date:
October 7, 2013
Source:
Clemson University
Summary:
Lance Armstrong used Twitter to employ image-repair strategies in a way that cultivated followers and countered media reports. However, he neglected to enact any image-repair tweets following his admission to using performance-enhancing drugs in a nationally staged interview with Oprah Winfrey, researchers say.

Lance Armstrong used Twitter to employ image-repair strategies in a way that cultivated followers and countered media reports. However, he neglected to enact any image-repair tweets following his admission to using performance-enhancing drugs in a nationally staged interview with Oprah Winfrey, researchers say.

Clemson University communication studies assistant professor Jimmy Sanderson said traditional media like television and newspapers have been a staple of image repair, but with the rise of social media, athletes now have an additional avenue for it.

They should be prepared with strategies that help them navigate traditional and social media platforms to present consistent messages in multiple settings and contexts, according to the research.

Sanderson and co-authors Marion E. Hambrick and Evan L. Frederick explored how Armstrong utilized image-repair strategies during 2012 and early 2013. This time frame represented a turbulent period in Armstrong's career as he faced a doping investigation by the U.S. government and later admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in the Winfrey interview.

"Given Armstrong's global recognition, exploring how he managed image repair via traditional media and digital media is an important direction to undertake," said Sanderson. "Understanding how these efforts intersect and diverge yield important insights for image repair, particularly for athletes."

The researchers analyzed Armstrong's 859 tweets from 2012 to early 2013 and his comments during the Winfrey interview. Their findings were published in journal Communication & Sport.

Results indicated that Armstrong utilized the following strategies on Twitter: attacking the accuser, bolstering and stonewalling. However, during the interview with Winfrey, he demonstrated contrition by employing mortification, shifting blame, simple denial, provocation and victimization, along with two newly identified strategies: conforming and retrospective regret.

The results suggest that athletes who display multifaceted image-repair strategies can embolden identification and attachment with followers and introduce competing media narratives surrounding their identities.

"With respect to athletes, when image repair becomes necessary, digital and social media also afford them the capability to introduce alternative narratives and redirect audiences," said Hambrick, of the University of Louisville. "Athletes now have the opportunity to promote their charitable endeavors and diligence during workouts and practices, which may shift the public's attention away from the situation that prompted image repair."

Armstrong used Twitter to employ image-repair strategies in a way that cultivated followers and countered media reports. However, he neglected to enact any image-repair tweets following his admission to using drugs in the TV interview.

"Given the immense public outpouring and the ability to navigate between identity positions using Twitter, Armstrong could have maintained both an assertive and remorseful position that likely would have removed doubt and skepticism among his fans and the public at large," said Frederick, of the University of New Mexico. "Instead, Armstrong minimized the effectiveness of future messages delivered via Twitter, as skeptical followers may view his tweets as little more than propaganda rather than insightful information and commentary."

The researchers note that athletes should be aware that while they have greater control over their messages via social media platforms, they might at some point have to relinquish the reins as they face difficult conversations in other media.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Clemson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. E. Hambrick, E. L. Frederick, J. Sanderson. From Yellow to Blue: Exploring Lance Armstrong's Image Repair Strategies Across Traditional and Social Media. Communication and Sport, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/2167479513506982

Cite This Page:

Clemson University. "Lance Armstrong failed social media, too, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122601.htm>.
Clemson University. (2013, October 7). Lance Armstrong failed social media, too, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122601.htm
Clemson University. "Lance Armstrong failed social media, too, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007122601.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins