Forget the trolls, social media also builds inclusion through and for women’s sport | Megan Maurice

So often seen as a mechanism for abuse, social media can also foster a sense of belonging

As highlighted recently by the Tayla Harris furore, when women’s sport and social media are talked about together, it’s usually due to trolling and online abuse. But look deeper and there are ever-growing pockets of inclusion, places where fans can feel part of something larger and make genuine connections – not only to like-minded fans, but to the athletes themselves.

Online communities such as Netball Scoop, The Women’s Game, Ladies Who League and The Outer Sanctum have thrived in this environment, serving all manner of purposes from spaces for fans to congregate digitally, to live-tweeting of games, to creating content where gaps exist in traditional media coverage. In addition, less formal communities have flourished on platforms such as Twitter, linking fans of particular codes together through common hashtags and conversation threads. The result is that some fans have been blown away by its impact.

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