Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Social Media Silence Speaks Volumes

About a month ago, we wrote about the news that NASCAR had secretly fined driver Denny Hamlin for comments he made on Twitter. It was AP reporter Jenna Fryer who broke the story. The amount of the fine was substantial and NASCAR presented Hamlin with a log of his offensive Twitter comments.

The interesting thing is that in this case the fans got to see the evidence. Hamlin was one of many drivers from all three series who got hooked on Twitter and used it effectively in several different ways.

This week, the Sprint Cup Series is headed for perhaps the biggest race of the season in Richmond, VA. There are multiple storylines playing out in the sport as the final race before The Chase for the Championship gets set to run under the lights on ABC in primetime.

Twitter is interesting. It costs nothing to join, is easy to use on any online device and has become the breaking news source for almost any topic worldwide. NASCAR uses Twitter every day to offer official news and updates. On the weekends, live race tweets chronicle every Cup, Nationwide and truck series race.

In this "have at it boys" season, NASCAR actively encouraged the drivers to speak their minds and deal with issues on the track among themselves. It sometimes takes a very thick skin to be a Sprint Cup Series driver in 2010.

There has been a whole lot of talking going on among the drivers that is dutifully reported by the media corps, the NASCAR TV partners and the radio networks. But, now there is one place where almost no talking is going on. That place is Twitter.

Click here to read "Did NASCAR Crush Social Media" from the August 4 edition of TDP. The story was updated on August 9 with comments on the topic from Hamlin.

NASCAR fans on Twitter had access to all of Hamlin's tweets. Many looked back and saw a very different situation than the one NASCAR determined needed 50 thousand dollars to resolve. In this case, it appeared that the thinnest skin belonged to NASCAR.

Here are some fan comments on the topic:

"The reason I finally got a Twitter account this summer was to be able to hear directly from the drivers. It was cool. But now all we get is just plain silence." (from Vince)

"NASCAR moves one step closer to pro wrestling than pro sports. It's less and less about the competition and more and more about the show and about rivalries. Stick and ball teams and leagues have "you can't badmouth us" rules too but they don't make it rain in the top of the 8th or throw towels on the court with 20 seconds to go." (from Tripp)

"I remember reading Denny's tweets that night and even gave my thoughts on it to him and to Gluck at the time. I didn't see anything at the time where I really thought Denny said anything out of line or that hadn't been said by other drivers and by fans over the last few years about the late cautions." (from PJ)

Hamlin's online conversation with SBNation blogger Jeff Gluck on the topic of "mystery debris" caution flags was apparently the key issue for NASCAR. It's ironic that other drivers, team owners and NASCAR personalities at the time were also actively engaged in tweeting on that same topic.

One well-known Sprint Cup Series owner with a long history in TV engaged in an extended Twitter debate where he defended NASCAR's right to make the race more exciting by purposefully throwing a caution flag. He called it a "TV timeout." To even have this discussion, the assumption by all was that "Jacque Debris" had visited once again.

At a time when NASCAR is looking for new fans, Twitter has over 145 million users around the world. Twitter is viewed over 180 million times per month and is signing up more than 250 thousand new users every day. In the US, Twitter has over 20 million users and many of them are directly in NASCAR's target audience.

Hamlin's fine and NASCAR's strong words about policing social media have effectively ended the Twitter participation of many drivers, crew chiefs and owners. Now, public relations staffers offer official stories and pictures from teams while journalists chat with fans. Some drivers offer happy talk while linking to merchandise offers and sponsor sites.

The Twitter universe is huge, growing by the day and becoming the most effective way to transmit information in a timely fashion to a targeted audience. In much the same way that NASCAR's drug policy used to be based on "reasonable suspicion," the sanctioning body has not defined for personalities within the sport a social media line that should not be crossed.

It's time for NASCAR to re-open the door and tap into the fastest growing global communications technology. Instead of direct conversations with fans around the world, the NASCAR drivers stumble into Richmond in the middle of a social media blackout.

Where Twitter is concerned, "have at it boys" failed miserably. Perhaps, one simple and clearly stated official policy would assist in bringing back the rapidly growing interaction between fans and NASCAR personalities that ground to a halt in spectacular fashion.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


MRM4 said...

I have refused to join Twitter because of the inaction on Facebook. Maybe I need to get involved with it even though I don't have a mobile online device.

NASCAR is thin-skinned. But so is the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Anytime any of their official gets criticized, there comes a big fine from the league office. Like it or not, there are some things a participant cannot say for public consumption.

GinaV24 said...

Yep, NASCAR shot the messengers (tweeters) and at the same time, themselves in the foot (or really in a part of their anatomy a bit higher up on the body). So for all hyped "freedom" and allowing each driver's personality to show through, in the end, NASCAR didn't REALLY want to hear it.

As you pointed out in your column and certainly other posters had said as well, the fans were the ones who were first saying publicly that the debris cautions in particular were meant to manipulate the race to "manufacture excitement".

NASCAR seems convinced that the fans cannot think or decide for themselves. Unless a driver TELLS me that the racing is great, the ugly car is great and wow, I think the Chase is awesome, I can't possibly have a different opinion.

I understand why management doesn't want people involved in the sport to "trash" it, but NASCAR could have handled this issue so much better.

Silence is deafening and I don't follow twitter to hear PR propoganda which means that NASCAR has lost another way to hold my interest in the sport.

Anonymous said...

I remember when Denny was tweeting some of the things he was, mostly about phony cautions, and the conversations he was having with both Jeff Gluck and that anonymous owner/mostly retired driver about those cautions.

I don't blame NASCAR for reacting to it - when the competitors, for their own agenda, openly question calls, it takes the results one step closer to the WWE comparison, and one step further down that slope they started in 2004, when they implemented the Chase.

I don't blame NASCAR for reacting to Ryan Newman's observations at restrictor plate tracks, either - it wasn't the message, it was the way it was said.

It's really simple - you don't bite the hand that feeds you...

StillAnonymous said...

Denny said the same thing on camera, didn't he? And he could have been interviewed in the press & said it to a reporter as well. Could have posted it on a website or message board. It isn't Twitter that's the problem. It's that NASCAR didn't want him criticizing them period. Newman was fined also, and I don't believe it was based on Twitter comments, it was an interview. It's simply that Twitter is one of many ways a driver could, in an unguarded moment, accidentally say something that would get NASCAR's ire. And so they have apparently stopped. (I don't care about Twittering so I wouldn't know, but I'll take your word for it.) We could argue for days about whether or not drivers have the right to speak their minds, but basically, NASCAR has given them guidelines on what they shouldn't say, so they've made it clear they want that particular control. They now know they are being monitored.

I could Twitter that my CEO is an idiot and should be canned, and I would probably be fired (which is perhaps what many of them would like to say about Brian France, and can't.) But it's up to the drivers/wives/etc whether or not they think they can Twitter in a censored fashion without angering NASCAR. If they can't, they shouldn't be using it unless they want NASCAR's wrath. What the fans want/think is irrelevant (as far as the PTB at NASCAR are concerned.) They are not known for backing down from things like this.

Just for laughs, I clicked on a couple Twitters on the front page. Cheryl Burke is rehearsing and going someplace I don't care about. Ryan Seacrest is telling us all about Rihanna. In short, nothing on there is telling me anything important, it's simply 'immediate' for those who really get off on instant gratification or what a celebrity is thinking at any given moment. I just don't care—and frankly, I think some people care way too much what strangers have to say (ie, a cult of celebrity.) I can see some circumstances where it might be relevant at an event. It's raining at the race track, for example. The stands are empty (photo uploaded.)

Personally I think social media may have important ramifications for our society (and not always good ones--'sexting', putting naughty photos of yourself of Facebook, etc could ultimately be dangerous, as is 'driving while twittering'.) A driver isn't twittering to me, he's twittering to thousands, I don't see it as a personal message. It just has no value for me; I have far better things to spend my time on. And maybe now the drivers do too.

Anonymous said...

One of the great freedoms in this nation is the freedom of speech, even within a private business company. There are consequences when private companies choose to censor its participants. So when the private company, NASCAR, chooses to censor its personalities/drivers it shows that they don’t have an excellent entertainment value to promote and stand by, and defend. It alarms me with the amount of money that NASCAR is asking for fans to attend a race, they refuse to let the crew chief, drivers, and teams to speak their mind. What do they have to hide?

Even if a crew chief, driver or team member says something that embarrasses the NASCAR brand, are they sending the message that they don’t have anyone in their communication department that can communicate NASCAR’s position and defend its decisions, like calling a yellow flag for debris when no one can find anything on the track?

I hope that NASCAR doesn’t get too arrogant that they just do things not to broaden its fan base. I think by silencing the crew chiefs, drivers, and teams will just turn fans off from the sport. In this struggling economy with this private company that is not a very good choice.


JohnP said...

I won't do online mobile because they charge me for it. Been there done that. Not going to try again anytime soon. I still don't understand why Anyone would put a public statement out with a possible contriversial subject and Not expect negative feedback. That so boggles my mind. As far as twitter, I believe it's just a fad. Folks will eventually realize there sending these tweets to total strangers as Hamlin found out. A person simply can not make a public statement and not expect feedback of some kind. We see it here all the time. Someone will most likely disagree with me about Twitter being a fad. But that's the way it works. If I was a driver I'd Never tweet, use facebook or myspace for statements. Never. I'd be professional and work through my agent as most other sports do.

allisong said...

Once again, I have to weigh in here and strongly disagree with you. So there's a "twitter blackout" in effect? Really? That message must not have gotten to the drivers and drivers' wives that I follow.

So, in your opinion, unless a driver is actively bashing NASCAR, they are being suppressed? I guess they can't possibly have anything else to share with us, right?

51 yr fan said...

NA$CAR categorized it when they
referred to drivers and others as
"partners"; meaning every hog was
feeding at the same trough. It's
the same old "you need us...."
Anyone who needs credentials will
continue to toe the line.

Thanks again for you hard work JD!

Daly Planet Editor said...

MRM: Do you believe that NASCAR threw a "mystery caution" on Denny and at other times this season?

Anon 11:38AM: Perhaps, when competitors openly question calls from NASCAR it's with good reason. See the MRM question above. What's your answer?

Still Anon: Twitter is a world that the drivers were already deeply involved in with fans when this happened. Q&A's, behind the scenes pictures, ticket giveaways, exclusive meet and greets, all of this was already in progress. NASCAR ended a huge and developing social media interaction over a comment about what everyone knew was a fake caution. Your slams of social media, Twitter and celebrities make no sense at all.

JohnP: The answer is easy to understand. Because what was wrong was being openly discussed on TV, radio and social media.

allisong: Driver's wives and girlfriends are now prominent on Twitter because they are not subject to fines. The conversations from drivers, including those retired and now on TV have ground to halt. There is no debate about that.

This issue is not about crossing the line in bad behavior, it's about defining it. With no clear cut rules, the easiest way to avoid trouble is to avoid Twitter. The losers are the fans and the sport.


Has a life said...

I just don't care about Twitter---but JPM is popular, so I went page after page back to February. Who cares about this stuff? I mean, I'm sure he has an interesting life (for him) but do I need to know when he goes out to dinner with his wife, takes his kids to school, what movies he likes or when thinks his car sucks (which is usually obvious from say, a practice speed sheet.) Sorry, but it looks like a colossal waste of time to me. I also found an article saying that certain drivers deliberately chose NOT to tweet (probably because they could already see where this was going.)

I can't imagine any company is going to let their employees tweet negative stuff about working for them. 'Freedom of speech' is about the *government* not being able to do things to censor its people; but if you choose to be employed by someone, you play by their rules. As MRM4 said, the other sports leagues are doing much the same (and as Allisong pointed out, I think they're still twittering; certainly JPM is.) But I noticed how many times he managed to get 'Target' into it, so anyone who things they're not promoting themselves is a bit naive. I can only imagine what Waltrips is like.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Has a life,

Who cares about this stuff? The answer is pretty easy to understand.

For JPM, it's the 199,977 fans of his around the world.

That makes a pretty good statement.


JohnP said...

I normally agree on a lot of points JD but I'm the polar opposite from you on this one. No matter how many jump on board it's not the employees who should be talking out about it. It's the sponsors and espically the fans who should be. And the fans and sponsors pay the bills. I don't view this any different then if I constantly ragged on my boss. Sooner or later there will be ramifications and that's exactly what happened to Hamlin. Free speech as someone said. Darn right. But a person will also be held accountable for what they say. It does not matter how many in tv or radio were talking about it - that's their job. Not Hamlins. So I'm just going to respectfully disagre on this on.

Newracefan said...

Twitter is now my main source of Nascar news, I use it to link to different sites instead of jumping from site to site like I use to do. I lost the internet during the cup race and I really did miss Twitter (not to mention Driver's scanner and timing and scoring but that's another subject all together). I get what JD is saying, drivers use to actually give us their opinion about many things in Nascar. Other drivers, other team, Nascar itself, tracks not just I had a BLT for lunch. Now it's all come see my web site and we're selling this or I had a BLT for lunch, except maybe for MW55. Thank goodness for the family members, spotters, media and others that still put some interesting stuff out there. I understand that Nascar has to have some guidelines but for crying out loud make some up so we can go back to reading something interesting

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but add me to the list of those that just don't care about Twitter. Yes, 199K may follow Montoya but apparently billions don't. I'm not bashing those who like Twitter and like knowing when he brings his kids to school, wakes up, plays with model planes, etc. (yes, I checked him out), but that just doesn't interest me. Nor did I go to Denny's or Mikey's Twitter pages to see what they had to say after a race. I'm a huge Stewart fan but I don't care that he doesn't spend his time tweeting. It doesn't change how much I root for him. I've been a NY Giants fan since I was a kid and I couldn't tell you who does or doesn't tweet, but I still live and die with each win or loss.
So I don't know..maybe something is wrong with me that I don't get all worked up over Twitter and NASCAR "silencing" the drivers. Maybe I'm simply a twit.

Has a life said...

JD...yeah, because he gives away prizes. Just's a pretty commercial deal from what I can see (in his case). To be honest, my driver doesn't tweet much, but if he did, I might be compelled to look at the pages once in a great while--certainly not every day. I really don't care what famous people do every day, even ones I like, so sue me. And if there are 20 million users, JPM's numbers aren't that big. Chad Ochocinco has over a million. My point was, I think those 200,000 need to..well, get a life, lol. I don't really feel like it's a personal message to me if it's going to that many.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The notion that Twitter is intended for indoor nerds is pretty funny, but also uninformed.

NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, GrandAm, F-1, MotoGP and other race series gravitated immediately to Twitter.

It is the best way to get information out globally to the fan base in a timely fashion.

NASCAR was a leader in social media and an innovator on Twitter. As more personalities in the sport arrived, the conversations increased.

In this case, a reporter asked Hamlin how he felt about the fake caution flag thrown as he stunk up the show in a Cup race.

Hamlin never used foul language, said nothing that was not being said by others and was responding to a question from a media member.

That one incident shut down the vast majority of Twitter traffic for one reason. Now, there were penalties without rules.

Regardless of the spin put on my column by some who commented, the call is for NASCAR to specify what can and cannot be discussed in the same way that other pro leagues and even TV networks like ESPN have done.

For those of you who have not tried Twitter, jump in and begin looking around for your favorite drivers, teams and sports celebrities. In addition, your local news, national news and sports news favs are also there.

Twitter appears on your phone at no charge and keeps you in touch and up to date on the topics that you choose.


Lisa Hogan said...

I am with JohnP on this one.

As for myself, I haven't tweeted in over a year. Twitter quickly became just another thing on my "to do" list.

Everyone lives their life differently. Twitter is a personal choice. Some like, some dislike. :)

Anonymous said...

You asked me this:

Anon 11:38AM: Perhaps, when competitors openly question calls from NASCAR it's with good reason. See the MRM question above. What's your answer?

My answer is...

Like with any other job I can think of, there is a line one cannot cross without expecting repercussions.

If I work for a company that manufacturers 10 oz. bags of widgets, and I go on Twitter and to the print media and say "XYZ company only puts 9 1/2 ounces of widgets in each bag", I'm fairly sure I'm going to be fired - whether it's true or not, my choice of forum to question their honesty was wrong. I crossed the line, and now the public perceives them as cheaters, and won't buy from them. I had a valid concern, but I went about voicing it the wrong way.

Just like Denny and Ryan - if you have a problem, go to NASCAR - if enough drivers do, maybe things get changed, but the general public certainly doesn't need to hear the accusations of race manipulation, because then why waste my time or money buying a short-weighted bag of widgets or watching a fixed race at home or in person, since people whose opinion means something to me on that topic said that's how it was - true or not. :)

They still give away tickets on Twitter. They still tell us what they're doing on Twitter. They still make comments on Twitter. They just don't disrespect the organization that enables them to have riches beyond their wildest dreams on Twitter anymore. Seems fair to me. :)

MRM4 said...

JD, I do believe NASCAR has thrown a caution because a particular driver was stinking up the show.

Sunshine, freedom of speech is the most-often misused thing we have in this country. Freedom of speech does not apply when it comes to someone else owning the avenue where comments are made, i.e. this site or a message board. Is NASCAR issuing a gag order on Twitter the same thing? In that circumstance, I say no. But anytime the people running the show are questioned regarding their judgement or calls, that's when the people running it will step in. Anytime a coach has accused a referee of fixing a game, that coach gets a call from the league commissioner. Is that right? Again, I say no. But they run the show and you have to go by their rules if you want to play.

Patti said...

Well looks to me that some actually know that Denny's fine was bigger than his discussion on Twitter.

I was more stunned by why he said in victory lane that night. Twitter was probably mellow compared. I wonder if he's conveniently leaving the comment in victory lane out and blaming Twitter solely because he knows he was wrong for saying what he said on TV.

Regardless, all actions have ramifications and it is our responsibility to act according to the rules, rules that had been laid out during the off season. I don't think Nascar has to treat their drivers like a bunch of idiots and outline every medium that the rule applies to.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a member of Twitter but I have, on occasion, visited a NASCAR driver site to see some of the discussions going on. I haven't done so since the Hamlin fine was handed down.

I figured that the boys would pretty much abandon Twitter after that. I mean, who needs the aggravation and $50K is fifty K.

I think that NASCAR has pretty much put the kibosh on drivers interacting with fans using this medium. What we're going to see from now on are carefully worded press releases designed to not aggravate NASCAR.

One thing you'll probably not see any more is the truth. I saw the interview Hamlin gave after it surfaced that he was one of the drivers who had been fined. He had the look of some puppy dog who'd just had his nose pushed in dodo. His "statement" sounded totally phony.

If Twitter was going to be the goose that laid the golden egg for NASCAR then I guess they've pretty much cooked that bird. My pinion.

PammH said...

Okay, I LOVE twitter! But I only follow very few drivers. Where it pays off most for me is following Nascar reporters. They link to their articles, they have the latest news & best insight from the tracks. I rarely go to jayski anymore & I used to visit their every day. I also use it to keep up w/Planeteer friends. Drivers wives & girlfriends are much more interesting to me than the drivers.
I understand JD's point, but it really didn't affect my tweeting world. btw, I don't believe Ryan Newman's fine came from a tweet.

FloridaMatt said...

JP, I'll suggest your observation that wives and girlfriends can't be fined is only technically correct. Nascar can block hard cards and other access for girlfriends. And while they might be unwilling to do so for wives, there are other ways they can "encourage" matters. Or do you believe that no car has ever "coincidentally" had a very tough time in inspection?

Tom said...


I think the term everyone has used "don't bite the hands that feed you" is one of the biggest cop outs possible. Lets just consider if for the last 200+ years everyone had said that. Think about it. If you let them win enough, they eventually think they can control everything.....they already control a satellite radio station and countless "journalists". Can't there be something left for the critical minded fan?

Wake up, Hand feeders

Inverness, FL

allisong said...

JD, I guess my problem with your blog postings on this is you state an inaccurate perception as fact.

"NASCAR drivers stumble into Richmond in the middle of a social media blackout." - (Not true, there is no blackout.)

"...the rapidly growing interaction between fans and NASCAR personalities that ground to a halt in spectacular fashion." - (Again, not true. One driver (Hamlin) has admitted to tweeting less. Can you name others?)

"The conversations from drivers, including those retired and now on TV have ground to halt. There is no debate about that." - (If they have indeed "ground to a halt" why am I still seeing new driver names everyday on my "Who to Follow" suggestion list?)

By "conversations" though, you just mean the anti-NASCAR stuff, right?

Michael said...

I'm going to disagree with the original post. Social Media does not work well for companies and organizations that wants to keep a tight, centralized control of their marketing message.

Twitter and Facebook empower the individual to say what they actually think, bypassing the marketing folks who would normally censor the comments. NASCAR is not setup to allow something like this; they are a top down organization. This is especially true when it comes to sponsors that could be driven away from the sport by a few bad tweets from someone on a Pit Crew.

If NASCAR were truly an open organization that welcomed criticisms, then social media could work. However NASCAR is not open, and will never be open.

Vince said...

Yup NASCAR pretty much screwed the pooch on this one. Another knee jerk reaction by Faux King Brian and his band of clowns. Like I said, the only reason I joined Twitter this summer was to hear from the drivers. It was nice to hear their comments, uncensored, after the race.

Now I've had to "unfollow" all of the drivers I was following. They either have nothing to say or nothing interesting to say or their account has been taken over by a PR person.

To the people who think Denny's comments were bad mouthing his boss. NASCAR is not his boss, Gibbs is. He's an indepentent contractor working for Gibbs and running races sanctioned by NASCAR. So the comparison about bad mouthing your boss is not really valid. In any case, Denny did not bad mouth anybody. He just said what a lot of us have been thinking all along. NASCAR does throw bogus cautions to tighten up the races. Appearently NASCAR thinks we are all idiots and do not already know this.

So thanks to NASCAR, Twitter is pretty much dead for me. I do follow some of the NASCAR media on Twitter especially on race weekend. I don't have cable, so while ESPN is doing the race coverage I am stuck listening to MRN/PRN and catching the media's comments on Twitter during the race.

My question is why would NASCAR kill something like the drivers Twitter use? All it does it hurt them with their coveted 18-34 male age bracket. I've been following NASCAR for 45 years and everytime I think they can't do anything dumber, they prove me wrong.

I have serious doubts about the people making the decisions in NASCAR. The beach bubbas in their ivory towers need to get out and mingle with their fans more. Denny wasn't saying anything that most fans weren't already thinking.

glenc1 said...

I would have to turn on my Tracfone for Twitter, eh? Lol. Honestly, I'm not tethered to my phone--only use it for travel & emergencies. I don't have kids to keep track of, etc. More often, I'm tethered to my PC, so the Internet would be just as immediate a way to let me know something about my driver. I made a Twitter account to 'follow' some people online, got bored with it; haven't been back. Just not something I care to spend time on. I don't think twitterers (is that a word?) are geeky or anything, but...they're just people choosing to spend their time on something I wouldn't.. I never liked IMing or chats either.

But this--I think the problem is, there are two issues here. One is, Denny bad mouthed NASCAR decisions. And apparently they'd been told not to do that in a meeting, with examples & everything. No, NASCAR isn't his employer, but they act as such on many occasions. The athlete formerly known as Chad Johnson doesn't work for the NFL, he works for the Bengals, but he can still get fined by the league, for anything from bad mouthing a ref to wearing his jersey untucked. I don't think NASCAR is working much differently than most sports. If Chad started Twittering something negative about Roger Goodell, I believe the league would step in. I wish NASCAR didn't feel so threatened by what drivers say, but I can see why they'd think Denny went to far...he essentially called them liars. I think that's a pretty harsh thing to say about an organization you work within *EVEN* though I think they did lie. But in their place I think I would object to him saying it. Just trying to see both sides.

The 2nd part of this is the Twitter thing. From what I can gather, drivers still tweet, so we know it's not a 'blackout' literally. And allisong indicates any number of drivers are still doing it. I'd like to know exactly what they were saying before (other than Denny's incidents) that they aren't now? If some of them have stopped, I would gather they think they might accidentally say something stupid. Frankly, I think they could do that just as easily with a microphone shoved in their face after a wreck than it with Twitter. Actually, that's probably why guys like Stewart & Earnhardt never did it; they could see the bad potential because they're pretty honest. I just don't think you can single out social media when the regular media can be just as much of an issue. Frankly, I think using Twitter by PR people is a good thing, if the idea is getting information out in a 'timely fashion' how does it matter who texts it? And quite honestly, how do you know that's not where it's coming from anyways (or a girlfriend or whatever?) And also, I think Twittering by the media would be much more informative to me. And I take it they are still doing that? But again, they are 'agents' so to speak, of their employers, and still have to be ‘professional’. But if they're telling me track conditions, say, or breaking news that doesn't conflict with a 'scoop' for the employer, I would think that was more valuable than knowing what Denny Hamlin thinks of NASCAR.

I agree NASCAR is made up of control freaks, but that's just how it's always been. Even broadcasters have lost jobs for criticizing them, or been 'warned.' So this should not be a surprise, even in 2010. It would take a massive culture change. I think NASCAR will continue to use social media where they can, in a controlled fashion. But letting guys just Twitter criticism of NASCAR; I can't fault them for putting the kabosh on that. I think it's an issue of 'how' critical you're going to let them be, though. NASCAR & the drivers have to work that out.

sorry if this posts twice, I got an error.

bryan said...

"Twitter appears on your phone at no charge and keeps you in touch and up to date on the topics that you choose."

Um, JD, this certainly seems untrue to me. My phone does phone calls in and out and also does texts. Thats it! I think you're talking Blackberries, etc, and they and their monthly service fees are _very_ expensive.

I've a twitter account and I haven't logged in in a month or so since I've yet to find anything to interest me there. Sorry.

Tracy D said...

Where has Kyle Petty gone on Twitter? Hmmm??? Twitter was made for his quick wit and razor sharp style. MWaltrip has shifted gears into pure promo and the party line. No more whacky comments that had us going "huh?" (Wait, this is a good thing.)

I'm a fan of Twitter, but I follow Publisher's Weekly, APStyle, and a host of other sites that give me instant information I can use. Same with race day twitters from people at the track - they're wonderful. Information without a time lag.

It's the raw immediacy of Twitter that is its strong point and failing at the same time. Harvick's ungrammatical, misspelled tweets were a hoot. Now, someone has cleaned them up and made them picture perfect, and they don't sound a durned thing like him. Bummer. Promo is now king.