Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Repost: NASCAR Needs Junior On Twitter

Ralph Dale Earnhardt Jr. is all grown up. At 37, he is a veteran of the NASCAR game and has experienced the highs and lows of the life he has chosen. His Sprint Cup Series win in Michigan on Sunday brought him center stage in the sport once again. This time, he handled it with the cool professionalism of a man in control.

As impressive in post-race interviews as he was on the track, it's now easy to place him among the top contenders for the series championship. Many things have changed in the sport since he first came to the Sprint Cup Series. One of the most profound changes in dealing with the fan base is social media.

Earnhardt's Twitter account is @DaleJr. If memory serves me correctly, his sister reserved it for him should he decide to become active in the social media world. It was a good move on her part because the time for him to make that move is right now.

It's easy to see on TV the deep integration of Twitter into NASCAR. The past two weeks have also featured a heavily promoted special online page created and staffed by Twitter employees for NASCAR tweets during the races. There is currently no more efficient digital platform to get a message out to the NASCAR fan base than Twitter.

From 53 year old Mark Martin to 22 year old Austin Dillon, almost all professional NASCAR drivers have come to realize the power of social media and what a single Twitter account can accomplish. While top NASCAR stars like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both have over 200 thousand followers, an international motorsports star like Rubens Barrichello has 1.7 million.

The early fears of Twitter as being unkind to major sports personalities have been put to rest. Smart use of social media just means that top American athletes provide information that helps with marketing, sales and ultimately the bottom line. Like most digital communication tools, the user controls the content.

Every time Brad Keselowski sends a tweet, he does so to 271 thousand people. Keselowski worked hard for those followers and continues to interact with fans, other personalities in the sport and media members. One tweet from Earnhardt would make its way to 132 thousand fans immediately. That is how many Twitter users are already following his empty account and just watching and waiting.

Twitter does not have to be personal. It can be used for marketing purposes, provide links to websites and offer pictures or videos in support of a company agenda. That is precisely the purpose that almost all of the NASCAR sponsors use the service to provide. The race tracks are there too, as are all the major teams including Hendrick Motorsports. 

There is little doubt that if and when the official Earnhardt Twitter account becomes active it will quickly top one million followers. The marketing power for Hendrick, JR Motorsports and NASCAR in general would be tremendous. In a time when sponsors are looking for exposure and the sport is looking for a spokesman, cranking Earnhardt's Twitter account up would make a lot of sense.

It took a little encouragement for some personalities to join Twitter. Perhaps, this might be the encouragement for Earnhardt. Simply by asking folks like Martin, Darrell Waltrip or Kevin Harvick about their experiences Earnhardt would find out just how much a simple app on a cell phone can accomplish. His sister and his Nationwide Series sponsors would also perhaps point out what it would mean to JR Motorsports.

Ultimately, the most powerful force in welcoming Earnhardt to Twitter would be the NASCAR fans. While all celebrities using social media have to learn how to screen out the haters, the success stories for NASCAR drivers and personalities where Twitter is concerned are plentiful.

Perhaps the best example of someone close to Earnhardt using Twitter successfully is crew chief Steve Letarte. His personality shines through and his Monday evening tweets suggested he was going to be giving away the hats worn in Victory Lane by his winning team but first he was off to his son's swim meet.

If there was ever a time for the most popular driver to get in the social media mix, it is now. Perhaps with a little encouragement, Earnhardt can sign-on and discover what many of his celebrity friends, teammates and fellow drivers already know. Twitter is the ultimate way to say thank you to the fans.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

53 comments:

Sally said...

As I recall, Jr. has said that trying to keep up with something like twitter is just too time consuming...yet another 'obligation' on his time. I can understand his point. He has enough people clamoring for his time and attention, why add yet another? The attitude seems to be that Junior 'owes it' to fans to do this. That, to me, is the exact attitude that makes me choose not to participate. I think he has the right to say no if he chooses.

OSBORNK said...

I don't think Jr. needs to get on Twitter and I don't think he needs to take time away from other things to do so. What's in it for him? He is popular beyond anyone's wildest dreams and he has more money than he will ever need. His fans will continue to love him and I think overexposure is not always a good thing.

Do people really think that famous and very busy celebrities are really spending their valuable time on Twitter? They have someone else do it for them.

GinaV24 said...

NASCAR probably needs Jr on twitter far more than he needs to deal with it.

One more advertising tool. As if we don't get enough of that with anything associated with NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Jr is my driver and I'd enjoy seeing him on Twitter. However, I think it would be a bad idea because there are a ton of Jr haters out there and they'd love ripping him apart! Jr doesn't need the aggravation.
Donna

Mule said...

Read my lips, AIN'T FREAKIN HAPPENIN CAPTAIN, no more than he'll ever pilot a black number 3 Chevrolet stock car and you can take that to the bank. Hell, he is the bank. He's stated several times he has no interest in that, it's a ball and chain that he doesn't have the time or patience for. He's tried a journal a couple different times on his web sites and after a couple or 3 months he's done. He's simply not that type of chatty outgoing person, it's very easy to see.
I dare say that he and Kelly have done quite well marketing Dale Jr, and as long as Dale is there, JR Motorsports will be okay. That's why he has employees doing the tweeting, along with Pepsico and Hendrick. Haven't you ever noticed that when people start poking MD & TJ with sharp sticks on personal questions how fast they slam the door.
Nah, before you revel the troops for a full court press for Dale to get on Twitter, don't bother. He's not doing it. You forget a good number of JR Nation are the older folks the were with his Dad. The kind of folks that don't care to have social networking shoved in their face ever other paragraph.
He's got plenty of fans, very loyal fans that figured out a long time ago what he's about and it has nothing to do with money, popularity, or racing. It's a quality you seldom find in people anymore. If you haven't figured it out yet, you don't need anyone to tell you. Would it be good for NASCAR, possibly, but they've been on the money train all along.!

Buschseries61 said...

I don't see why Dale Jr. needs to join twitter. He's a private person and I respect that. All that would come out of it is Dale Jr. speaking very little about his life, lots of advertising, and millions of NASCAR fans fighting over Dale Jr.'s talent and relevancy for the millionth time.

Hope you do a column on FOX and SPEED soon. It's a contradiction that FOX is looking to extend and expand their NASCAR rights yet the future of SPEED looks dimmer every day.

Anonymous said...

I agree about overexposure. Look at Carl Edwards, he was everywhere until I just got sick of seeing him. Always leave your fans wanting more.

glenc1 said...

not to mention, the young man is not responsible for what's 'good' for NASCAR; I think he has enough weight on his shoulders. If they wanted to do something from a PR perspective, like EGR, for example, has started tweeting for its teams & giving away prizes & such, I could see that being a nice thing for his fans--not for the sake of NASCAR. Surely someone could do that for him. But on a personal level, if I were him I'd stay away from it with a 39 and a half foot pole...too much emphasis on every little word...imagine if he'd said, even accidentally, something controversial; the kind of attention he'd bring to himself...I'd put that in a category of 'unnecessary headache'.

E-Ticket said...

I would much rather see the mysterious men behind the curtains, the wizards themselves Brian France and Mike Helton on twitter. When they join up I will worry about Junior. He is such an introvert but, then again it should not be a big deal a guy he met in iRacing designed his car. He is very social in a way. Congrats to Junior on the win..

matriarch said...

I ditto what everybody else has said. In addition, NASCAR may need Jr, but he sure as heck doesn't need the extra load. You forget that he has sponsorships to deal with both in NSCS and NNS. There are people in line for every minute of his day. Allow him the tiny bit of freedom he now has, and leave him alone. He knows better than anyone how to manage his time.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

I don't understand how some of the drivers have time Tweet.

I don't tweet, only follow and it is too time consuming for me....a retired person.

Every so often I take a look at my follows and try to delete someone.

We are nation of zombies staring into our mobile phones! Coming soon "Twits Anynomous"! LOL!

I can totally understand why JR doesn't want to be on Tweeter.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine what an uproar there would be if jr tweeted what kasey did about the breast feeding mother. Even Kasey made national news but if it had been Jr. They would still be calling for his head.

KoHoSo said...

At the time I am writing this there are eight comments posted. I agree with all of them and they have covered almost everything I would have said myself.

I will add this one very small bit of insight that I have mentioned before here on the topic of Junior and Twitter. I had the pleasure of racing with him online on several occasions back in the days when NR2003 was the simulator of choice. Of course, I cannot claim to truly know the man through such limited contact. Still, I have the strong impression that if he did get on Twitter, it would be under a completely untraceable name and what he tweeted about would have nothing to do with racing.

I would also guess with great confidence that Junior could not give the slightest damn what NASCAR might want out of him when it comes to such "extra duties."

JMHO

Sophia said...

I agree with many above & glenc1.

Jr wears the weight of the sport on his shoulders due to NASCAR putting all their eggs in 1 basket with him (Same thing PGA has done w Tiger, NOT good for golf sport either but don't get me started. The screaming, redneck galleries & foul mouthed Tiger in front of galleries)

Jr is nothing less than a gentleman in interviews & on tv. He values what privacy he still has.

I'd never encourage somebody to engage in SM if it's not their thing. Either it's your deal or it's not. And too many haters online he'd spend most his time blocking them and first, one has to read the painful, snipey comments.

I always try to treat everybody the same way I would treat them in person on twitter & I have met many great, intelligent tweeps in person!

But Jr, because of his last name, seems to get ripped at the drop of a hat. Makes me ache for him as if he asked to be born with a famous race car father.

Jr was on with Dan Patrick this morning and down to earth as usual.

But I swear, I love the boy but do wish he would enunciate better. I almost need an interpreter listening! (XOXO to Jr, no offense!!)

Also I know it's "Hot" right now but as an early adopter Twitter is getting on my nerves, being shoved onto people on tv shows, talk shows, news/sports. so . . .(I also see many deleting their FB accounts. Not having a FB account is the new "I don't own a tv" ! :) )

Oh on a completely different brief tangent, I heard somebody griping about the new "overhead shots of a basketball game" being used. These camera gadget folks need to chill.

Oh, and besides, some celebs are better at twitter than others. Some hit and run and never read the @replies to them. so they are boring. Others like Max Papis & his wife are more interactive.

my 2 cents.

Thomas said...

I have said this from the beginning, he needs to be on Twitter with the idea of being a lot like Tiger Woods. Very rarely is it a PR move, he tweets when he wants to, about what he feels like is a good idea. Every so often you have a fan day where you answer there questions or comments. It should never be an obligation to him to answer other fans, but it is much better of a tool when the fans can know what he is up to or what he is thinking. Almost is 133,000 followers is still impressive with no tweets.

Ir42nate2bhere said...

NASCAR may need Junior on twitter, Junior does not need it. Edwards,Smoke,Junior, 3 rather successful drivers and businessmen, what do they have in common, no tweets. If you have the personality to do it, cool, but do not do it because all the cool kids are doing it. Nothing worse that watching someone doing something forced upon them by pressure.

Daly Planet Editor said...

As I tried to emphasize in the column, this is not a personal agenda. It is professional.

Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne all have Twitter accounts and use them effectively.

Junior never has to ineract with one fan if he chooses not to. He never has to read one hateful tweet or disclose anything about his personal life.

Just as Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty found out years ago, Twitter is the great communicator in a time when newspapers and magazines are dying.

Information released by Junior through his Twitter account would trickle down to motorsports websites worldwide.

I understand the personal issues mentioned, but sometimes we all have to cowboy up and do the right thing. I think Junior could handle Twitter just fine.

JD

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with all the comments, Junior does NOT need to be on twitter. I rather like that I don't know everything about him, and he certainly does not owe anything to anyone. The guy is taking his time, enjoying himself and his life, just let him live it. He's got the 2 Mikes, TJ, and Laura keeping us informed, let's leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

He probably has not Tweeted because they forgot the password.

Seriously, even if his sister does it for him and links to press releases and website updates, that works.

As JD says, it is for marketing too.

Stick with the Biff said...

JMHO--Junior has spent his career doing the 'right thing' for the most part as a driver and a car owner. Yes, he makes a good living from this attention. But at what cost? Despite tragedy & hard times, public family disputes, contract negotiations...injury...having to 'hide' his personal life....through it all he's been responsive to the media despite being asked repeatedly stupid questions; he has more than done his share; trying to be honest (sometimes brutally so) and thoughtful in his responses. They do a fine job reporting this. It's not his job to do it directly.

He doesn't owe anyone anything.... If you're a fan it's because you choose to be, and you don't need his constant interaction to tell you so (although he often says how much his fans mean to him.) If it's something he's not interested in doing, he should feel no obligation--let's leave him alone.

Sam said...

As a non Dale Earnhardt Junior fan I fully believe we have more than enough 'news' on what he is or isn't doing. I'm on twitter but don't let it rule my life. It's something a little entertaining to play with during a race. If he doesn't want to be on Twitter it doesn't effect this Nascar fan one bit.

Anonymous said...

If Junior wants to be on Twitter great! If he doesn't that should be fine too, it won't make me like him more or less. Thing is we all have a choice so should he.

OSBORNK said...

JD. You mentioned that Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty found out Twitter is a great comunicator and information Junior would release through Twitter would trickle down through motorsports websites worldwide. It might be good for Michael and Kyle but it is not something that Junior needs. Junior is his father's son and I can't imagine that Sr. would want anything to do with Social Media. Junior can whisper information he wants to get out and it spreads like wildfire. I think Junior already has far more exposure than he wants.

Daly Planet Editor said...

OSBORNK,

His crew chief was on Twitter giving away Victory Lane hats yesterday.

Jimmie and Jeff are no Twitter constantly, even after Jimmie objected to being involved originally.

My point is the only way to see if you like or dislike something is trying it. Avoiding it solves nothing.

He can always depart and let his PR folks manage his account. But, the time is right IMHO to jump in the pool.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

OSBORNK,

His crew chief was on Twitter giving away Victory Lane hats yesterday.

Jimmie and Jeff are no Twitter constantly, even after Jimmie objected to being involved originally.

My point is the only way to see if you like or dislike something is trying it. Avoiding it solves nothing.

He can always depart and let his PR folks manage his account. But, the time is right IMHO to jump in the pool.

JD

Anonymous said...

I don't see any reason for Dale Jr to do something he is not interested in doing. He can make his own decision without the influence of NASCAR or sponsors. It is what I admire about him-he is his own person! Thank goodness for that!

John in Chico said...

Kyle Bush is an example of someone having the required Twitter account but he rarely himself uses it. On the other hand JPM is all over Twitter, he and the family were at Disneyland yesterday, a few days ago he posted a picture of his son soloing and RC plane. Some use it a lot and others have it and ignore it for the most part. JJ learned very quickly about blocking jerks early on with help from followers and I would venture to say that if Jr. does decide to participate it will come from fellow drivers, not so much from the outside. Though it is obvious that the Man does indeed recognize the fans and their needs.
He’s in a good emotional place right now and that changes ones thinking too.
Good for him on his victory.
JD, the goings on recently seems to have made its way to the surface in the last few days. Speed will go away in 18 months replaced with talking heads and stick and ball sports. I didn’t have a good feeling when they broadcast a soccer game from the UK. The UK, WTH? What do I care about club soccer from England?
Will you be discussing the happenings or it this situation still in flux.
Where is the NASCAR Network when you need it?
Is there anything behind Morgan Lucas buying a little, local network?
Is this the end of the golden era of broadcast motor racing, I’m still missing RPM 2Night and the Thunder series.

Daly Planet Editor said...

oops...."on Twitter contstantly."

Lisa Hogan said...

JD - - -
You have been on a personal campaign to get Junior on Twitter for a long, long time. You have tried nagging tweets, peer pressure tweets and now you say that “NASCAR needs” Junior on twitter and Junior should do the “right thing” and tweet.

Not everyone shares your view that Twitter is the greatest thing ever.

As a reader since you started your blog, I am honestly confused as to why you cannot accept that Junior has made the decision to avoid Twitter.

Unless there is some financial incentive, why continue to “scream into the wind” and “beat a dead horse” over this issue?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Lisa,

My opinion on this topic is clear and as you can see from the responses I posted I respect those who disagree.

The entire point of my columns is to take a topic, explain my view and then ask for comments.

Twitter is a growing area of interest for NASCAR, as you can see from the recent cooperation between the two parties.

At a time when the sport is struggling to keep a profile in the national media, it's obvious that having Junior participate like most of the other drivers would be a plus.

Since we believe that Danica is going to be departing to SHR for a Cup ride next season, it would also be a big advantage for JRM to have Junior directly offering tweets in support of the NNS activities.

My opinion is that some decisions are personal and some are driven by business interests. The fundamental difference on this topic is whether having an active Twitter account is personal or professional.

I respect every opinion and have discussed various topics across the NASCAR TV and media spectrum for the past six years.

Not going to change now.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD--you say 'avoiding it solves nothing.' That implies there's something that needs to be solved. The way I see it, there is no problem here. Junior might not have tried Twitter, but I'm sure he has a phone, and perhaps he simply doesn't get obsessed by it as some people do. Maybe he doesn't like to type or text, either; it could be a million things. Most of his fans that I know have learned to read the tweets of others who are in his circle. Junior may just think the whole idea of tweeting his daily activities is foolish. Personally, I think his PR people could put it to good use if they chose to, but if Twitter is a chore to people, they shouldn't use it. No one should feel obligated, and I have the sense that that is exactly the case with the 'occasional' tweeters...that they do it because it's expected, not because they really enjoy it like Montoya and Petty do. And it's too bad that they have to waste their time like that.

Lisa Hogan said...

Yes, JD, I have been here for six years and know how your blog works.
Since you have been on your Junior/Twitter campaign for so long, it just seems personal and confuses me.

We will agree to disagree and this weekend I can complain about road courses. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon,

Let me say it again. I do not expect vaca pics and updates on dinner.

What Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and other personalities like Steve Letarte use Twitter for is to get information that they want to relate out to fans directly.

Social media allows the user to control the content. This is not a personal issue, just a discussion about whether or not a high-profile athlete is better off participating in the largest and fastest growing social media platform in the world.

My suggestion is yes.

JD

Anonymous said...

But that's just exactly what Montoya does most of the time--I went and looked at a week or so of his tweets last year just to see what it was about. He talks about what he's doing that day... gives stuff away in contests. Shows pictures of his RC toys & his vacation pictures. And says when he picks up his kids at school. I fail to see how it's all that important. It's kind of like the old days when guys used to pull out their wallets and show their kids' pictures. Some people might really be interested, and that's great. Others don't care. I have a friend who follows Gordon. She shows me pictures of his kids. We've all seen the picture of Matt Kenseth's kids in the 48mobile at the Lowe's. Last year they were all tweeting 'planking' photos. Once in a while you get a tweet from testing or they comment on the state of their cars. Again, nothing that can't be accomplished another way if they don't like using Twitter for it. It's not that I don't think Twitter is a useful tool for certain things. Reporters, in particular, have very useful things to say. And if drivers enjoy using it, Montoya, Kez, Kenseth, that's great. But no one should think they *have* to. Business is business, and I don't think they need to mix the moments of their day *unless* they really want to. It's not like a sales rep having a 'Linked In' account where it would help you make contacts or something.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon,

It is fair to assume that a Dale Junior Twitter account would top one million followers quickly.

That is the reason I included in my column the infomation about Rubens B.

Anytime you can send a direct message to one million or more fans of a specific sport, it is a powerful tool.

The evolution of social media is frustrating some because the exact same tools can be used for many different purposes.

My example in this discussion is not JPM, but what Junior's Hendrick teammates are doing. They are just using Twitter as a pipeline to pass along information.

As I said before, Junior does not have to make it personal unless he finds, like Mark Martin and many others have, that Twitter is actually fun and interesting.

I hope he tries it.

JD

Zetona said...

KoHoSo said:

"I have the strong impression that if he did get on Twitter, it would be under a completely untraceable name and what he tweeted about would have nothing to do with racing.

I would also guess with great confidence that Junior could not give the slightest damn what NASCAR might want out of him when it comes to such "extra duties.""

Pretty much this. The New York Times had a long article on Junior about two years ago that painted him as a very introverted person, uncomfortable with and perturbed by the spotlight that's always thrust on him because of his name. He already has a bunch of media and sponsor obligations, and I think he'd see Twitter as just another obligation.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Junior needs to be on twitter. I love twitter and I'm a Dale Jr fan, but he has enough to do already.

Vicky D said...

I always have felt that since Jr. is the son of Sr. and shares his name, he's a target of all sorts of things (good and bad). I think Jr. wants a regular and quiet life so he should just be tweeting very little, maybe the low amounts of tweets like I send out. Idcan't imagine someone being under the microscope like he is.

bbooner said...

JD,
If anything we need LESS Twitter. Dale Jr. has his followers because he says no to silly stuff like this.
Let the man be who he is.

Bobby O said...

Not that I have tried being a twit much, but I've Never seen or heard anything from it that seems remotely worthwhile for me, you all can do what is needed.
Just assuming Dale feels the same way.
BTW if you all (JD too) think if you are not part of the latest and greatest thing.... you know the rest.
Well sorry, but you all think way too much of yourselves, and there in lies the problem!

Dennis said...

I'm surprised and pleased to see almost all of the comments feeling Jr. is entitled to his privacy and time. NASCAR, IMO, doesn't need the boost. It's doing fine as it is. I don't care that viewership peaked in 2006.

Junior has cowboyed up and done the right thing his whole life. He has had the weight of the world on his shoulders and never complained. He doesn't need to spend a second on Twitter. He doesn't owe anyone a thing.

I'll say one thing off topic. It was a real pleasure to see him smiling this weekend. Looking forward to the racing this weekend. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I dont see what difference it makes if he is on Twitter or not. Jimmie Johnson has Twitter.... he uses it to tweet photos of sunsets (which he did today), vacation photos, and to give away hats to people who retweet him. I don't see how this help NASCAR. I don't see why JR tweeting random photos or comments makes anything different, either. It is an overhyped self-promotion tool, and last I checked, JR sells twice as much gear as the next most popular driver (Tony, who is a distant second in sales), and doesn't need any more self promotion. If you want to talk to Junior, you should get an account at iRacing and race against him. He's on there all the time racing against real fans. I don't see why in the world we need 140-character updates from him telling us when he's gotten to the track or what he had for breakfast today.

KoHoSo said...

Twitter...it's not just for posting what you had for breakfast anymore. :-)

I just want to spend a moment dispelling this notion that Twitter is basically nothing but people saying what they had to eat and advertisements. Yes, in its beginning years, there was a lot of "Had bacon and eggs this morning" kind of stuff. That's why, back in 2007, I thought Twitter was useless and basically tweeted nothing but really awful stuff just waiting for Twitter to throw me off. I stopped using it for a couple of years until I discovered that it had changed into what it is today where, if one is judicious about who one follows, people can find a service full of fun and information where a celebrity as big as Jerry Seinfeld just might answer you if you tweet somethng that gets his attention.

These days, I barely ever see "breakfast tweets." Twitter has greatly evolved and, for those that use it properly, is a great way to inform the public or to become closer to one's fans. A good example of this has been happening over the past two nights where comedian Ron White has just started really using Twitter and had a lot of fun with it and Food Network's Alton Brown is doing a series of tweets that border on performance art all while answering fan questions (and hilariously dealing with trolls and haters). I find it very nice and refreshing for people like that to have fun with their fans in a manner that we could never experience with them face-to-face.

No, I can't see everything on Twitter. Still, it is a shame that it still has a reputation for being about nothing than posts about people's daily routines. The only times in recent years I can remember people posting about their breakfast was one from Jorma Kaukonen (of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna fame) and a couple from Alton Brown, and in those cases they were more of restaurant recommendations than something tweeted just to take up space.

If that's not interesting to people like Junior or anybody else, that's fine. No Internet service is going to suit everybody's needs. For example, I cannot stand Facebook yet I know it serves some really good purposes. I just wish for the criticism of Twitter to be more reflective of what it really is today than what it used to be five years ago or what everybody heard about from somebody else but never truly saw for themselves.

MRM4 said...

Even though I am on Twitter and follow lots of drivers, writers, and other NASCAR people, I find the driver interaction to be minimal. They'll post things about what they're doing, where they're going, or some random comment about something other than racing. I find very few of them interacting with the fans. If any driver doesn't want to take part in Twitter, I have no problem with it. JD, you're a Twitter bully.

Charlie Spencer said...

Maybe Jr. just doesn't feel he has anything of interest to say.

brad202b said...

As I said to you on twitter, Jr doesn't NEED to be on twitter, period! I think he's done just fine reaching out to his fans in other ways. RESPECT the fact that he doesn't want to be on twitter and stop bugging him about it. Sometimes the media is just ridiculous

red said...

JD, you have confused me on this one, I'm afraid. If it's about "professional" & there's no reason for Dale himself to actually tweet anything, that his PR people can do that, then why does HE need to be on Twitter at all? I think Mike Davis does a finestkind job of keeping JRM's sponsors front & center and Laura Scott does the same from the Hendrick end. So what's to be gained by having Dale's name associated with an account that would actually just be another PR-handled site?

The folks who have created & manage the "Jr brand" have done an awesome job over the years & are very skilled at managing that brand. If your position is that it's good for his sponsors, again I'd say they're being taken care of wonderfully already.

The argument that it's a way for him to deepen his connection with his fans doesn't hold for me either. The MVP & All Star balloting alone indicate that he is connected with his fans just fine, thank you very much.

So, in my view, his professional image/brand is secured & being managed well and his fan connection has proven to be incredibly durable & loyal. What, then, can Twitter enhance for the "Jr brand"?

"Information released by Junior through his Twitter account would trickle down to motorsports websites worldwide." I'm fairly confident that a call or text to selected motorsports media from Dale Earnhardt Jr would accomplish exactly the same objective: give them the info & allow THEIR Twitter feeds to do all the work w/no hassle involved.

Also, Dale was a very early adapter to social media: remember Infield Parking? He understands it but it just isn't for him personally. And since I don't see a compelling advantage for him professionally, the thought that he "needs" to be on Twitter fails for me.

Does NASCAR need Dale to be on Twitter? Perhaps. But clearly, Dale doesn't need it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Red,

Mike Davis and Kelley Earnhardt, both reps for JR Motorsports, have less than 20 thousand followers on Twitter.

Junior's empty account that his sister set-up for him has 130 thousand. The empty account.

There is little doubt in my mind that an official Dale Earnhard Jr. Twitter account would be over one million followers quickly and if managed correctly may even top 2 million.

There is no downside to this. Other Hendrick drivers don't find Twitter upsetting their lives or intruding on their personal time.

In my opinion the gains for him professionally far outweigh any problems.

JD

Anonymous said...

Do you seriously think he would get more fans or make more money by being on Twitter? You say there's no downside...well, for him there's no upside....

The downside for him, is *time*. Time wasted typing into the phone. Complete waste. He's not 'other drivers'. He's a guy who doesn't want to be on Twitter. 'Nuff said.

red said...

Thanks for the response, JD.

I'm still unclear as to what Dale would be gaining by using the Twitter account. His determination to protect his personal privacy is legendary so I doubt he would have a personal use for it. And I truly don't see how it can enhance his professional life or brand.

When you say there's no downside, I strongly disagree. He is a polarizing figure in the sport. The fans who love him are often as irrational as those who hate him. Both would be swamping the account if they believed he is the one tweeting. Your point that 130K people are just waiting for him to tweet reinforces that point: he hasn't typed a character on the account & they're ready to respond, both with unreasonable adoration and hostility. What would he gain by exposing himself to that? More importantly, what would the BRAND gain? I contend the answer is nothing.

Jimmie had that whole "vanilla" thing to counter & he uses Twitter wisely to do that. In fact, he won me over by doing just that. I think the same applies for Kez to some extent. But the Dale "haters" won't be won over because they are as passionate in their dislike of the Jr brand as his fans as in their support of it.

For me, the number of followers is irrelevant as well. Every word he speaks, every move he makes, every moment he shares with the world are multiplied by the blogs, columns, radio & TV shows that hash it thru the media mill instantly. Perfect example today: Mike Davis and JRM 360 is, if one goes by just the numbers, a small set of Twitter folks. But USA Today just embedded that JRM 360 episode in their online version today. Instant multiplication by several magnitudes.

Finally, whether other Hendrick drivers find Twitter non-intrusive or useful is, for me, not relevant. The personalities involved are far different & what works for Jimmie & Jeff (and not so much for Kasey!) is clearly not something that Dale feels will work for him.

He's ventured into this area before with Infield Parking & a Facebook account & by his own statements found that those experiences became uncomfortable & unsatisfying for him and, he felt, for his fans. How would Twitter be different?

I think we're at the "Graciously agree to disagree" point with this one, JD!

OSBORNK said...

"In my opinion the gains for him professionally far outweigh any problems."

Jr. has more money and a hugh number of very loyal fans. What can he gain professionally that will benefit him personally? I think the only professonal gains Jr. is interested in is winning races and championships. Twitter will do nothing to help him achieve those goals. Unless something drastic happens, he will remain the most popular driver and one of the best compensated as long as he chooses to remain active in the sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...

OSBORNK,

The racing shop that bears his name and is currently competing in the NNS Series would tremendously benefit. A foundation (like JJ and Jeff) would benefit. His fan base would benefit. The list goes one and on.

Red,

When you work in a team, you can only be not a team player for so long. The Hendrick drivers, crew chiefs and even spotters are some of the most active on Twitter. Regardless of the assistance he got from Mike Davis or another PR person, there is never a downside to opening a pipeline to the fan base. The number of followers for Mike Davis is not only relevent, it is key. Just like a TV ad goes to those watching, a tweet only goes to those following. To say this is about being private suggests that would be compromised and I do not believe that to be the case.

JD

Jonathan said...

Im ok with Jr not being on twitter. I feel him its not worth it not his thing. I know I said this before but you know what not my thing either and i wouldnt do something I dont like! I tried not my cup of tea... and obviously its not Jr's either!

Dont give into the hype JR!