Self-branding on elite level : How female athletes use social media for empowerment

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Professional athletes use social media for many different purposes. That includes sharing personal lives, sport achievements as well as endorsements and branding activities with sponsors. Women’s professional sports gain more and more popularity which is why creating a brand around oneself becomes more important and essential to stay valuable and attractive to sponsors. Online settings have become a stage for self-presentation and social media has enabled athletes to not only share marketing content but to communicate and spread a message. Based upon Goffman’s self-presentation theory, performances and “economies of visibility”, this research aims to understand how female athletes use social media, especially Instagram, and how new media is used as a tool for empowerment and as a tool to raise awareness around social justice causes. For that, a content thematic analysis has been conducted. The sportswomen who have risen to the top level demonstrate how their sports have helped them to build self-confidence and use their power on and off the field. The result indicates that the majority of Instagram posts focus on the athletes’ personal life and backstage insights are shared as well as empowering and motivational messages.

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