Social media usage among generation Z in a sport event
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Social media in today’s world continues to grow its popularity. Its use is no more limited to a specific time or place making it a new element in everything that we do. This Master’s Thesis examines social media use in a sport event context. The event examined is the European Olympic Festival (EYOF) 2022 held in Vuokatti, Finland. The athletes attending the event are 14–18-year-olds. The focus of this study is on generation Z, including people born between 1997-2010. The subjects of this study participated in the EYOF2022-event, either as a volunteer or an athlete. The main objective of this study is to gain insight and understanding of generation Z’s social media usage habits. The matter is examined through for example social media platforms, reasons behind use and social media engagement behaviour. The other theme in this study is to understand the whole event experience and define the elements that are most important to the participants. The study is performed with a qualitative approach. The empirical data was gathered with theme interviews with 8 participants. The interviewees had attended the event as athletes, volunteers or had been the organizer, allowing the study to have multiple perspectives. The interviews were then transcribed. The results and findings from the data were then thematized in different categories and analyzed thoroughly based on the theoretical background that was presented. The results of this study show that for generation Z, social media has a major and important role in nowadays sport events. Compared to regular social media usage, attending an event can make the participant even more active on social media, although they are on-site to witness the events happen. Social media is used for many reasons from entertainment to seeking information. For event organizers, social media can be used for multiple purposes. In this study, some examples of social media’s role were to shape the event atmosphere, offer visibility for athletes, create a feeling of communality among participants and make the participants more interested in the event. Event experience on the other hand is more than merely a sport performance or attending otherwise, but rather a holistic experience where social interactions and positive atmosphere play an important part. ...
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