EMAC Professor Discusses Sports Fans’ Use of Social Media
If anybody knows what it is like to be in the shoes of Alabama kicker and Southlake Carroll graduate Cade Foster, it is Dusty Mangum. The former University of Texas kicker from 2001-2005, whose fondest memory is his game-winning kick in the 2005 Rose Bowl, also had a game he would rather forget.
In 2002 against Oklahoma State, Mangum uncharacteristically missed three field goals. “It’s one of those things where you can’t really put your finger on and say that’s what I’m doing wrong,” said Mangum. After the game, Mangum avoided reading the newspapers and fan reaction posted online.
A decade later, with the evolution of social media, the attacks on Foster have been even harsher, with some sending death threats directly to the college athlete’s Twitter account. “I think it just like us being in our living room ranting and raving — only now we have someone who’s listening,” said Dr. Janet Johnson, a social media expert at the University of Texas – Dallas.
Dr. Johnson said that Twitter has given sports fans, for the first time, a way to directly communicate with players. And, since it can be anonymous, the messages are often personal. “Everyone is under attack now,” she said. “It is people reacting instead of thinking about what they are saying.”
“If I was playing at this moment,” Mangum said, “I would not read the papers. I would not have Twitter and probably not Facebook either, just because of all the negativity that can seep in.”
Several of Foster’s teammates as well as fans have also taken to Twitter to show their support for the kicker.