Moderating virtual sport consumer forums: exploring the role of the volunteer moderator
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Social media platforms, including blogs and online forums have dramatically changed the way people communicate. Interactions facilitated by social media platforms can be powerful contexts in which users come together and forge online communities. As a consequence, organisations in different sectors are seeing these online communities as an important marketing and communications contexts. The present research is interested in exploring how professional sport organisations are moderating online communications. In particular, the research considers the role of the social media moderator, an area that despite its ethical and socio-economic implications continues to be under-researched. The perceptions of nine moderators of a professional sports organisation are gathered. The findings indicate that their strong passion for the club they moderate for is the main motivator for these individuals to perform their 'duty'. While little benefit is perceived in doing so, they consider their role in safeguarding the integrity of the forum as essential, thus suggesting that passion alone can be a stronger driver than other incentives. These findings have several implications for professional sport and other organisations.