Friday, January 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
Today is good. This has been sort of a good week. Today is very good.
I'll tell you why (and if you're not an academic, you won't those of you who get bored just look at the sock picture to the right).

Anyway...last summer I received a grant (pretty big $ for a communications study) to look at storytelling at athletic department websites. So I had a pseudo-theory on fans and spectators to guide the study, I collected the data, I analyzed the data, and I got disappointed that there wasn't much to the study.

So then I started digging around for some more theory (and kiddies, don't try this at home. You're supposed to have the theory in place before you set up the study and collect the data). Anyway. I found some work on genre theory and narrative theory that referenced para-social theory. And that led to some work on fans...which tied back into the pseudo-theory of fans and spectators! So it all works together. I needed one last theory to tie it together...something that would suggest that the Internet allows for para-social interaction as well as TV does--and lickety split I found it!

So now I've gone from a descriptive study that wasn't very interesting to a theory-based study that is, surprisingly, kind of interesting. Yay!

Para-social theory, for those of you who don't know, is the idea that we can form 'relationships' with characters on that we think they're sort of real. Not in a stalking, crazy way. Just in a comfortable, let's keep watching the show because of our attachment to say, an American doctor played by a British guy on a Fox TV show. Just sayin'.

So, I'm happy. I'm also happy because we finally got our car fixed so it no longer smells like burning oil and coolant, that the sun is shining, that the week is over, and that my Whirlpool socks look so cool! The sock pictured is modeled by my hand. You can't see the beads but the colors look very accurate.

Tomorrow we're off to see Brownie, then Sunday the SuperBowl (go Cardinals...and Steelers...I have no parasocial relationships with either team).


Ling said...

I like good days!

Sheila E said...

I like good days too!
Your study does sound interesting!
Love your new socks ;)

Mistrmi said...

Had I been able to pursue my doctorate, I was going to do something with the idea of bonding with fictional characters! Sociology, meet Communications!

Anonymous said...

Do you have cameras installed at my house?? Because I do have an attachment to House ;)

Rachel said...

I kept meaning to respond to this...I'm glad that your study turned into something that was interesting to you! I've had similar situations...helped on a project for a couple years that just didn't have the data to do what they wanted to do. The researchers finally accepted that and asked John and I to basically find a way to make it publishable so all the money spent would be worth it. And we realized that the theory behind what they did is really what is publishable...the data are quite good for a modeling exercise to explore the theory. It's not advisable to rework your goals after the data are collected, but sometimes, that's just how it works out!