Liveblogging, Fans, & Learning on Tumblr

Here I talk USWNT fans, multimodal communication, liveblogging, and active moments of learning unfolding in a potentially asynchronous manner on Tumblr in my presentation from NASSS 2013 in Quebec City.

More to follow – a quick review of my posts shows I’m missing FOUR of my presentations on my ethnographic research from the last year. YIKES! #mustcatchup

Until then, have a look at my presentation from November’s North American Society for the Sociology of Sport presentation titled “You Must Be New: Becoming Fans & Communicating Values While Defining International Sport Online.” The presentation unpacks the USWNTvCANWNT rivalry that swelled in the final few minutes of the 03 June 2013 fixture between the two teams. Dubbed “The Rematch,” passions were high for fans of both teams – and dual-nationality player Sydney Leroux’s overtime goal lit the powder keg of incendiary debate that followed.

This discussion focused on the collective fiery learning moment, but future discussion will unpack the racialized and gendered discourses in which Leroux was suspended – with emphasis on nation/nationality, assertions of racism and racist chants, the mediated lens of professional sport, and narrative content – and, of course, being “classy” as an athlete and as fans in-person vs online consumption of sport. Watch this space…

Between the Sporting Lines

Happy New Year and third week in January! There’s already so much happening this year that I’ve not had a chance to share these slides from a talk I gave in December for a Foreign Services Institute panel on Sport in Western Europe.

Our panel was oriented around the challenges and experiences foreign service professionals might face as they enter their next assignments. I spoke with the group to recommend a set of questions that could be used to analyze the social and political circumstances of their environments – rather than an overview of any one aspect of sport or region in Western Europe.

I described my presentation as “talking a bit about the ways sport can be a lens to better understand the communities in which the students will be situated; that includes thinking about the origins and functions of sporting clubs (as it contrasts with U.S. sport models) — and how a keeping an ear to media coverage of sport can tell more about the readership than the sport/event itself. I suppose I’d call my remarks a series of critical questions the students can take forward and more rapidly relate to the context of their assignments.”

While I can’t be sure whether the group felt immediate resonance with my presentation, much like teaching a research methods or theory course, I do hope these questions will be triggered in interactions in the future – leading to better integration and understanding of host cultures.

What kinds of questions would you include in unpacking the meaning, impact, and role of sport if you found yourself in a new city or country? Please share your thoughts or relevant resources in the comments.

Quebec City & NASSS13


Just a glimpse at the cityscape in Quebec City…

More to follow on presenting, presiding, discussing, and developing new research ideas at the annual North American Society for the Sociology of Sport conference #NASSS13 here in Quebec City.

So far, it’s been two days of dynamic conversations, aggregating interest in various topics, and making use of my very dusty French language skills.

If you’re interested in fans and fan behaviors, come join us in the final session of the conference, 2:45-4:15, in the Ste-Foy Suite; many angles of participation and much chat about football (soccer) fans.

I can’t wait to learn more – see you there!

Keyword Round-up: July on

Another monthly round-up of my analytics, with increased visitors and a new paper release in July.

In July 2013, my profile and work entertained 214 “visits” in the form of page views. New visitors made up 156 of those visits—with seven returning visitors—and visitors came from 43 countries to view those pages.

Keywords by the Numbers
Sixteen keyword searches brought visitors to my pages in July. Twelve searches led to “Heroes & Zeroes” – all through Google searches. The searches from Google India, Google Australia, and Google UK (two) were ranked #1. Two searches led to “Changing the Game” and both were referred through Bing searches. One search led to “Arguably the Greatest” and one search to my profile; my profile ranked 13 in a Google search for my name “meghan ferriter.”

The searches that led visitors to “Changing the Game” concerned questions of race and ethnicity in sport. Six searches concerned the term “celebrity,” while three incorporated “narrative.” The term “athlete” also appeared in six searches.

Five searches were performed from the United States, with 2 searches each from the United Kingdom and Australia; all of these searches were performed using Google. The remaining searches were conducted from Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, France, India, Philippines, and Romania.

Here are the search terms in full and Google search rank, if applicable, in parentheses:

  • celebrity retirement sport (1)
  • impact of celebrity footballers (1)
  • “e-mail addresses and screen names allow users to” (1)
  • narrative+on+how+he+becomes+an+athlete (1)
  • celebrity athlete career change (1)
  • 10 examples of heroic narrative (2)
  • journal entries, heroes and zeroes (2)
  • why are athletes and celebrities considered heroes (3)
  • cultivation of celebrity athletes (4)
  • “sociology of sport” athlete retirement (8)
  • narrative structure of sports reports (10)
  • retired athletes in public service (10)
  • meghan ferriter (13)
  • can an athlete be a celebrity (no rank)
  • ethnicity by professional sport (Bing)
  • what are the ideological discourses that position race in sport as a significant classification of people? (Bing)

As suggested in this article, there are limits to the truth of the alert e-mail subject line: “Someone searched for you”. In July, the more appropriate phrasing for me might be “someone discovered you,” with the exception of the search on my name.

Why Followers May Not Be As Important on, a.k.a “Feed vs. Followers”
I gained 9 followers in July, which pales by comparison to the volume of page views. At first glance, this would seem like a poor rate of conversion. Yet that interpretation depends on your goals on – in contrast with one’s purpose on other social networking sites. Here’s another way to spin the low(er) follower numbers: the structure of’s platform allows communities of interest to form around subject fields very easily.

This means researchers and users can create personalized feeds based on their researching interests rather than directly following everyone working in those fields. Indeed, in my case, my work spans several fields and only one of my papers may be useful or relevant to certain disciplines. Through this tagging feature of the platform, potential followers are still receiving word of relevant work by particular researchers through the feed – that is, if it that work is tagged with the research interests into which those potential followers have opted. Of course, I still actively follow researchers and welcome others to follow me, but I am more concerned that my research findings are useful!

Papers, Posts, and Page views
Right after the Wimbledon Championship Men’s final won by Andy Murray, I uploaded my chapter about discourses of age in professional sport titled “The Age Complex.”

During the event, I made a post (similar to a status update) referencing my research. The paper is one of my thesis chapters and explores “age” as a social construction in newspaper media representations of professional football and tennis. Mediated sport discourses of international, professional sport offer a landscape constructed by, and consistently reframed by, age-related discourses that intersect with other aspects of identity – ‘race,’ ethnicity, gender, and sexuality – to create and reinforce inequality. For this reason, discourses of sport are excellent sites to examine age-related hierarchies; we can analyze them to better understand the ways in which age is a cultural resource informing broader relationships of power.

The addition of “The Age Complex” paper had a significant impact on page views in July.  Here are the breakdowns of what visitors viewed:



Age Complex 111
Heroes & Zeroes 28
The Stories They Tell 15
Changing the Game (intro thesis chapter) 3
Arguably the Greatest 1



Profile 48
Posts 3
Following 2
CV 1

My M.A. thesis (dissertation) didn’t receive any views this month, while Arguably the Greatest” only garnered one view. This suggests I may need to rethink the research interests with which these pieces are tagged and perhaps create status posts or discussion questions about their content to generate more traffic.

Referrals and Visitors
This month, I found interesting conclusions from the referrals. Continuing the trend from late June, 13 visits were referred by the blog post in which I was featured. Twenty-three visits were referred by – whether from the feed, from documents in various subjects, or from the Smithsonian Institution Archives Department page, with which I am affiliated. Search engines referred 31 visitors – a combination of the above-mentioned searches and other mail and search engines. Two referrals came through Facebook, which was most intriguing! Finally, there was one visit each from my blog and the status post during Murray’s Wimbledon Championships victory. Over 100 visits offered no referral information.

For the most part, these referrals are pushing traffic from within and through the platform. The next challenge will be to move visitors from other places in which I digitally reside, perhaps from LinkedIn, Twitter, or more traffic from this site.

Once again, English-speaking western countries led the way for visitors. Yet the numbers were much different and more widely spread than June. Fewer visits from the United States and Ireland but more from the UK. Countries like Australia, Spain, Germany, Sweden and India moved into the top spots.

The following table presents top countries by views:

United States 45
United Kingdom 40
Australia 18
Spain 12
Argentina 8
Germany 8
Sweden 8
India 7

I’ll wrap up these numbers with a quick consideration of visitor pathing or movement between my pages. Most visitors viewed one page but some viewed two separate pages. Visitors who viewed more than one page were likely to move from a paper to my profile or from my profile to an additional page.

Three visitors landed on “The Stories They Tell” and moved to my profile page. One visitor each moved from my profile to my post, from my profile to my CV, and from my profile to “Changing the Game,” my introductory thesis chapter. Finally, five visitors moved from “The Age Complex” to my profile page; one visitor moved from “The Age Complex” to my profile page and back to “The Age Complex” – twice.

Linking a paper with a trending event via a post certainly drove a great amount of traffic to my paper “The Age Complex.” If opportunity presents itself, or if there are upcoming events relating to your work, consider directing people to your work via the feed by way of status update posts.

Most traffic to my work is internal from the platform, although I did have increased traffic from search engines in July. This finding suggests that there is indeed a community of scholars at work on

Total visits (in the form of page views) to my work and pages increased from May to July by over 500% – from 40 to 214 visits/views. It remains to be seen whether or not those views are “meaningful” – in the sense of whether or not the research I am sharing is useful for other researchers in my communities of interest on

In summary: once again, keywords brought people in relation to celebrity, athletes and narrative. An additional paper coordinated with an event drove increases in visitors and doubled the previous month’s visits (June to July). Overall, this data can be useful in timing the release of my work, understanding existing audiences, and identifying which research interests I should better cultivate for increased visitor engagement.

Stay tuned for intriguing changes in August traffic in the next Keyword round up.

Keyword Round-up: June on

Exploring my June analytics report featuring minimal use of keywords but increased views.

In June, I was a busy bee preparing for the Expeditions & Explorers Edit-a-thon and concurrent launch of the Transcription Center. Admittedly, late July and early August have been wild with work! The last two months have featured research and consulting heavily, as well as an unanticipated two week sabbatical-cum-nannying “project.” Alors, back to the task of unpacking analytics…


First, focusing on simply the keywords that were used to locate my papers and profile: there were 8 keyword searches recorded and all used Google search (one search). They came from 6 different countries. The searches led my “audience” to the following: four searches directed to “Heroes & Zeroes“, two to “The Stories They Tell“, and two to my profile. Keywords and their rank in the Google search, if applicable, are below:

  • descriptive text about athletes (8)
  • heroes and zeroes: extending celebrity (1)
  • (The Stories They Tell URL)
  • (The Stories They Tell URL)
  • meghan ferriter (8)
  • meghan ferriter soccer
  • sport narritive storylines (4)

Matching the trend from May, two searches related to text and narrative though one focused on celebrity and the other for athletes. Two searches used the full URL for the paper on, while one used the first words of the article to search. Two searches included my full name. Intriguingly, with one middle of the month exception, the keyword searches were performed in the first and last week of the month.

Although I uploaded my MA Thesis “The Sharper Image” – regarding the interplay of constructions of Irish Nationalist Identity in British political cartoons and Irish Nationalist writings prior to the establishment of the Free State – neither this paper nor “Arguably the Greatest” received any hits from keyword search.


June did turn over interesting results in views despite low keyword searches – with credit to my inclusion of more papers and being featured on the blog.

The paper additions included my introductory chapter of my dissertation/thesis (US/UK, depending on where you dwell & study), as well as my M.A. thesis/dissertation (again the international contextualization applies). Each of these pieces are presented in their final draft form – and each has massive utility for publication and further research, so dusting them off for’s digital display case was a welcome move and started gears turning.

In direct correlation to the feature on the blog, my profile views leapt to 74, with 11 views of my CV page. My papers “The Stories They Tell” and “Heroes & Zeroes” received the greatest number of views with a significant drop in views between the two; the former at 58 views and latter at 14 views. The three other papers accounted for 15 views in total.



The Stories They Tell 58
Heroes & Zeroes 14
Arguably the Greatest 8
Changing the Game (thesis chapter) 4
The Sharper Image (full M.A.) 3



Profile 74
CV 11
Posts 2
Question 1


I was also intrigued by the locations of visitors, with the US, Ireland, and the UK leading visits. Most of these visitors viewed one page, though a handful from Ireland and the US visited multiple pages. Three visitors viewed 4 or 5 pages on their visit.



United States 73
Ireland 46
United Kingdom 13
Singapore 11
Canada 9
Bulgaria 7

In May, I had 40 unique visitors. In June, 110 unique visitors spent time on my pages. Of those numbers, the blog feature sent 37 visitors to my profile; 14 visitors navigated through their feed. Finally, 35 visitors navigated from my profile to my papers.


There were limited conversions of follows from views, even with the blog feature. Approximately 10 followers were added in the month of June and it is unclear whether that resulted from my legwork or “clickwork” in following other researchers.

Furthermore, there are two gaps in understanding user behavior based on the analytics we are provided as a part of the service:

  1. the download conversion rate (i.e. actual download numbers for papers)
  2. time on page (i.e. how long a visitor stays on the page, ideally reading)

Drilldown capabilities and the paths which users follow through your pages are also not provided but can be guesstimated by piecing together details by visitor ID.


In summary, keywords brought people in relation to celebrity, athletes and narrative, while a profile piece attracted visitor numbers that doubled the previous month’s visits. I had increases in views on my profile and especially “The Stories They Tell” and “Heroes & Zeroes,” which discuss – you guessed it! – celebrities, athletes, and narrative. Overall, this information may be useful in understanding an appropriate existing audience for my research.

Stay tuned for elaboration on the adventurous terms used to find my work in the forthcoming July Keyword round up.