Baylor's Wakefields Model Passion to
February 6, 2017
is notorious for its faithful fans. Thousands of fans flock to motor
speedways around the country to support their favorite drivers and enjoy
exciting events with like-minded people. But will those passionate fans
post on social media more because they're excited? That's the question
Kirk and Robin Wakefield asked at a NASCAR race in Miami.
The hypothesis and the event provided the perfect opportunity for the
Wakefields to meld their respective fields of research. Edwin W.
Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and Executive Director of the
Sports Sponsorship & Sales Program Kirk Wakefield's previous research
focuses on sports marketing and the implications of passion on sports
marketing. His wife, Associate Professor of Information Systems Robin
Wakefield, has focused her research on social media usage from the user
experience perspective. With the help of a grant from the Wharton
Consumer Analytics Initiative, they merged their interests and
investigated how passion and excitement affect the frequency of social
media postings during an event—in this case, a NASCAR race.
"Passion affects everything you do,"
Kirk said. "If I know what you're passionate about, I can predict your
behavior about whatever it is and your social media usage."
Researchers met fans at the event and emailed them surveys after the
event's conclusion. They asked respondents about their usage of Facebook
and Twitter, during the three-day NASCAR event. The researchers were
interested in the effects of passion and excitement on social media
The results were analyzed and culminated in the article "Social Media
Network Behavior: A Study of User Passion and Affect," which was
published in the Journal of Strategic Information Systems. In the
article, the researchers constructed a conceptual framework that allows
them to better understand the influence of passion and excitement on
social media postings.
"Overall, how we measure passion is heart, mind, body and soul," Kirk
said. "So if you would label it a passion, spend a lot of time thinking
about it, prioritize your time for it, and feel like you can't live
without it, it's a passion."
The Wakefields found that although excitement isn't always a significant
motivator for content creation or engagement online, excitement in
conjunction with passion is…at least at meaningful events.
because [respondents] were excited didn't mean they were going to use
social media," Robin said. "Feelings didn't drive use of technology."
The Wakefields believe this research provides insight into opportunities
for businesses marketing to consumers online.
"When an organization is thinking about a business to consumer social
media strategy, they can increase their engagement with their customers
if they find something that their customers are passionate about, and
then create excitement around that passion," Robin said. "It might drive
social media use."
Kirk suggested the use of passion for an activity to predict behavior in
marketing and information systems is new and advances the literature.
Their model acts as a basis for future research. The duo suggested
harmonious or obsessive passion would be interesting extensions of the