Ozzie Sport is a blog by Laura Hale that is dedicated to looking at Australian sport culture online, and more specifically at social media. It also contains information about a degree program under way.  Laura can be contacted at laura[at]fanhistory[.]com or laura[.]hale[@]uni[.]canberra[.]edu[.]au. Additional contact details are available at Laura’s Fan History profile.

I’ve started a research degree in Sports Studies at the University of Canberra.  My research will focus on online Australian sports fandom. My working research question is: What are the demographic, geographic and social characteristics of online AFL fandom and the implication of these for AFL clubs?

Outside the AFL, I’m interested in other sports and teams like the Socceroos, Super 14, NBL and NRL.  I like to ask what fans of those teams do and how management decisions can and do impact on other leagues including the AFL.

I’ve got a fair amount of data about several leagues and teams. I’ve been known to tell people about my research by describing it as “Mmmm. Tasty data. Mmmm.” My whole approach tends to involve around gathering a data set, identifying patterns and seeking an explanations for these patterns. The general framework for how I gather data and approach analysis is based on my professional experiences, my educational background and my involvement in media fandom.

The following is a list of papers and analysis that I have posted to this blog:

  • Online Activity in the Wake of the Melbourne Storm Controversy
  • Google, the Melbourne Demons, Port Adelaide Power and that game in Darwin…

  • I hold a MSEd in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University where I completed two classes on how to conduct research, and have been involved with social media and fandom based research professionally:

    • Founded Fan History Wiki, a project dedicated to documenting the history of fandom, in May 2006;
    • Consulted for FanLib/Take 180 Studios from June 2007 to June 2009: Monitored the Internet for referenced to the company and advised them on how to handle online response to comments.  Developed data sets to help with marketing related activities. Wrote an internal research document determining the percentage of adult fan fiction online;
    • Consulted for Dunkirk Systems from November 2009 to present: Developed and managed a Twitter and Facebook strategy for an auto dealership, and regularly update a competitive analysis regarding how other dealers used social media to improve their sales;
    • Principle organizer in 2009 and 2010 of RecentChangesCamp, an unconference about wikis;
    • BarCamp Chicago 2008 presenter with a panel discussing wikis; and
    • SocialDevCamp 2008 presenter with a panel discussing wikis.

    A more complete copy of my resume can be found at Fan History.

    I barrack for the following teams:

    • Chicago Bandits
    • Chicago Cubs
    • Chicago Blackhawks
    • Chicago Red Stars
    • Northern Illinois University Huskies
    • Rockford Ice Hogs
    • St. Kilda Saints
    • USWNT : Soccer and ice hockey

    The above list mostly includes teams from where I live and where I went to school.  When I visited Australia in July 2009, I asked a friend I was visiting who I should barrack for.  They told me they were a St. Kilda fan and I adopted them.  (I then immediately apologized to my friend for cursing his team forever.  I’m a Chicago Cubs fan.  We were born to suffer losses for years.  Coincidentally, after decided to barrack for St. Kilda, they did not finish their season well and have not been at the top of the ladder in 2010.)

    • Hi Laura.

      Nice work. Great to see someone using Social Media intelligently and academically in sport.

      Keep up the great work.

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