Virtual community participation as “Sirius” Leisure

Robin Lizzo, Toni Liechty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of participation and engagement among participants of a fandom-based virtual community. Netnography, a specialized from of ethnography adapted to the unique computer-mediated environment, was utilized to analyze posts collected from the Hogwarts Running Club (HRC), a closed Facebook group. The HRC was a virtual community with over 16,000 members that was founded in 2014 to provide a space for members to share stories, experiences, and passion for running and Harry Potter. The text of the collected posts was coded thematically. Four themes emerged: You’re a Wizard Harry: Shared Passion for Harry Potter,Running in the Rain: Engagement Despite Challenges,Hogwarts is Home: Identity, and Pepper-up Potion: Improvements in Mental and Physical Health and Well-being. As a conceptual framework, the themes aligned with the Serious Leisure Perspective. HRC members whose posts were analyzed exhibited one or more of the six characteristics of Serious Leisure with all six characteristics being represented within the dataset. Findings suggested that virtual communities, as a leisure setting, can facilitate Serious Leisure engagement and should be considered a viable setting for Serious Leisure participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-62
Number of pages18
JournalWorld Leisure Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023


  • Digital leisure
  • E-Leisure
  • Harry Potter
  • Netnography
  • Serious Leisure
  • fandom
  • virtual community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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