Sunday afternoon will breathe life back into this strange West Coast creature. Like it or not, the #NASCAR hashtag will once again come to life.
Part man and part machine, the hashtag creature has at its heart an algorithm of double top-secret NASCAR information. It can chew through thousands of NASCAR tweets in seconds and leave them in a heap by the side of the road. Only the chosen few emerge unscathed and crawl to the safety of the "landing page."
Figuring out what makes the creature tick is a mystery guarded closely by a select few gathered in an undisclosed location. Laptops at the ready, they try to control the beast by monitoring its diet of social media content. The idea is to keep the creature focused on the race at hand. It's not an easy task.
An algorithm is the way to make a computer solve a problem. In this case, the problem seems to be how to create a stream of NASCAR content quickly enough to attract new fans during a live race. The solution is to feed the tweets of well-known NASCAR personalities and veteran fans into the hashtag creature and see what comes out.
What came out last Sunday was a homogenized stream of milk. Instead of featuring the passionate fans, the hashtag creature pushed them aside and embraced the teams, sponsors and NASCAR personalities. The results were bland and easy to digest.
This Sunday, there is little doubt that many more fans will try to feed the creature by creating tweets strictly for the purpose of making it to the hashtag stream. In a hectic race on a track known for long green flag runs, sorting the thousands of tweets may prove to be a very interesting challenge for the hashtag monster.
Casual fans may love the results and those looking to use Twitter for the first time may find this is a perfect pathway to NASCAR. It's still a bit puzzling what appeal this stream has to hardcore fans or veteran Twitter users. Most have set-up personal timelines to feature their own NASCAR favorites.
As the hashtag creature chews through the social media churn from MIS, unfolding tire stories and driver complaints may cause some momentary indigestion. This Sunday, before the creature sinks again into the dark Pacific Ocean, we will get a much better picture of whether we have to respect this monster or simply smile and pat it on the head.
Happy to have your opinion on the #NASCAR hashtag project currently underway on Twitter.