Benefits and Motivations for Virtual Community Participation: A Netnography of the Hogwarts Running Club
Keywords:Digital Leisure, Leisure-Based Communities, Netnography, Self-Determination Theory, Virtual Community
Keeping up with technology today can be challenging. As park and recreation agencies increasingly find the need to adapt to and incorporate new technologies to stay relevant, the challenge to maintain membership and attract the ever-growing digital generation cannot be underestimated. Technology has long been considered a tool for agency administration, program registration, and implementation, but new forms of technological interaction should be considered by professionals as a way to reach existing and potential participants as well as a way to build community. The rapid development and growth of technology has spurred the development and popularity of virtual communities. Although these communities have been around for over 30 years, they have not yet been adopted into the professional “tool kit” for program delivery or in reaching out to foster stronger community connections and involvements. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore perceptions of benefits and motivation among participants of a leisure-based virtual community. This study utilized the qualitative research technique netnography to explore the perceived benefits and motivations of members of the virtual community The Hogwarts Running Club (HRC). The community has the mission of changing the world through physical fitness and charitable giving and has attracted a large, active, and loyal membership. The HRC was an ideal study setting due to its popularity and the leisure-based nature of the community. The HRC virtual interactions included in the dataset took place via a Facebook group where the focus of discussion was on Harry Potter and running. Data analysis revealed three primary categories of perceived benefits and motivations among the Facebook posts collected over a six-month timeframe: improved physical health, improved mental health, and social and emotional support. Participants indicated that their participation in HRC community events and the support and encouragement they received led to these perceived benefits. As many park and recreation agencies have mandates and commitments to improve quality of life for their constituents, facilitating a leisure-based virtual community might be one avenue of doing so. As such, implications derived from the findings for theory and practice are discussed along with suggestions for future research and practice.
Sagamore Publishing LLC (hereinafter the “Copyright Owner”)
Journal Publishing Copyright Agreement for Authors
PLEASE REVIEW OUR POLICIES AND THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT, AND INDICATE YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF THE TERMS BY CHECKING THE ‘AGREE TO THE TERMS OF THIS COPYRIGHT NOTICE’ CHECKBOX BELOW.
I understand that by submitting an article to Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, I am granting the copyright to the article submitted for consideration for publication in Journal of Park and Recreation Administration to the Copyright Owner. If after consideration of the Editor of the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, the article is not accepted for publication, all copyright covered under this agreement will be automatically returned to the Author(s).
THE PUBLISHING AGREEMENT
Assignment of Copyright
I hereby assign to the Copyright Owner the copyright in the manuscript I am submitting in this online procedure and any tables, illustrations or other material submitted for publication as part of the manuscript in all forms and media (whether now known or later developed), throughout the world, in all languages, for the full term of copyright, effective when the article is accepted for publication.
Reversion of Rights
Articles may sometimes be accepted for publication but later be rejected in the publication process, even in some cases after public posting in “Articles in Press” form, in which case all rights will revert to the Author.
Retention of Rights for Scholarly Purposes
I understand that I retain or am hereby granted the Retained Rights. The Retained Rights include the right to use the Preprint, Accepted Manuscript, and the Published Journal Article for Personal Use and Internal Institutional Use.
All journal material is under a 12 month embargo. Authors who would like to have their articles available as open access should contact Sagamore-Venture for further information.
In the case of the Accepted Manuscript and the Published Journal Article, the Retained Rights exclude Commercial Use, other than use by the author in a subsequent compilation of the author’s works or to extend the Article to book length form or re-use by the author of portions or excerpts in other works.
Published Journal Article: the author may share a link to the formal publication through the relevant DOI.
- The Article I have submitted to the journal for review is original, has been written by the stated author(s) and has not been published elsewhere.
- The Article was not submitted for review to another journal while under review by this journal and will not be submitted to any other journal.
- The Article contains no libelous or other unlawful statements and does not contain any materials that violate any personal or proprietary rights of any other person or entity.
- I have obtained written permission from copyright owners for any excerpts from copyrighted works that are included and have credited the sources in the Article.
- If the Article was prepared jointly with other authors, I have informed the co-author(s) of the terms of this Journal Publishing Agreement and that I am signing on their behalf as their agent, and I am authorized to do so.