Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Daugherty's Social Media Smackdown

When things get weird at Daytona, they get really weird. The height of the weirdness was Juan Montoya hitting a jet dryer on the track and igniting a fire that blazed spectacularly on TV. After it was extinguished, it took track workers over two hours to clean up the mess.

Meanwhile, right in the middle of hosting TDP's live stream on Twitter, I happened to see a picture link pop-up. It was a picture from Brad Keselowski. It was a view from the backstretch. As he had done during practice and Speedweeks, Keselowski had kept his cell phone in his car. He was now tweeting with fans during the red flag.

The NASCAR on FOX team was completely out of things to talk about and dispatched reporter Matt Yocum to the backstretch. After some race talk, the topic of discussion turned to social media and specifically, Twitter.

Keselowski continued to snap pictures of the other drivers, the fire scene and even the TV folks. He continued to chat with fans, post his pictures and tell Yocum about his Twitter activities. Suddenly, social media and NASCAR were front and center on a broadcast TV network in primetime.

"NASCAR Leading Social Media Revolution" was a TDP column from last week. We spoke about the sport's transition from completely shutting out direct contact with fans to embracing the fact that social media is going to play a key role in setting NASCAR's future course. Click on the title to read the column.

As various FOX announcers spoke about their own Twitter accounts and how much fun it was to interact with fans, a funny thing started to happen. Keselowski's follower numbers on Twitter began to rise. At first it was hundreds, then thousands and then tens of thousands of people going to Twitter to see what Keselowski was sending.

By the end of the night, his Twitter account had grown by some 200 thousand people. In addition, other NASCAR-related Twitter users found their follower numbers going up quickly. TV had once again accidentally served as a platform for social media growth. All it took was an accident, fire and red flag.

"How Twitter Took Over NASCAR" was a subsequent post on the popular website. Detailed in the story is the unusual synergy between race fans and the drivers and teams on Twitter. Instead of following the stereotype, NASCAR fans are proving to be sophisticated users of social media. Click on the title to read the story.

While the issue of Keselowski having a "recording device" in his car was raised after the race, NASCAR VP of Operations Steve O'Donnell waved that possibility off and praised Keselowski for his fan interaction and outreach. O'Donnell passed along that information on his Twitter account.

Tuesday afternoon ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty appeared with host Allen Bestwick on the NASCAR Now program on ESPN2. Daugherty is one of a host of analysts and reporters that rotate through as "experts" on the TV series. The talk of this day was Keselowski and his foray into tweeting during the red flag.

Here are Daugherty's comments in full:

Bestwick: "Do you fine or not fine Brad K (for having a recording device and using it during the race)?"

Daugherty: "You definitely fine Brad K, I have had it with the social media stuff. This is ridiculous. You are in the race car. You are a professional race car driver. I don't know why you would have your cell phone with you in the first place other than to just take advantage of an opportunity to do something like this."

"There is no place for this in professional sports when you are the athlete. His focus is to be in that race car 100% focused on trying to win the race. This social media stuff, especially something like this, I just think it is inappropriate and there is no room for that."

I sent Daugherty's comments along on Twitter and the responses were varied. While many thought he was just not informed on the subject, others suggested that his background as an NBA athlete, not as a driver, was to blame for his views.

While Daugherty has the absolute right to his opinion, Keselowski's Twitter exploits were sent all over the Internet in stories on all types of websites. The Daytona weirdness may have finally pushed the mainstream door to social media acceptance wide open.

We have been active on Twitter for several years, recently moved our live race TV chat to that service and found it to be a vital link for NASCAR fans. We welcome your comments on Keselowski, NASCAR and social media.

To add your opinion, just click the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


RPM said...

I've never been a Twitter follower and don't even have an account, but last night I had to check out Keselowski's feed. It was nothing earthshattering , but it was entertaining to follow the story around it.

Daughtery is absolutely wrong on this. It's not like Keselowski was tweeting during a pit stop or while the car was moving. It was a red flag and everything was on hold.

I predict by the end of the season most drivers will be using Twitter. It is here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Rusty is on the show as a former driver, not an owner. Daugherty is on there as a owner, not a driver. He should not be on this show or any NASCAR show as he really has no clue of this sport other than his money.

Buschseries61 said...

Big Brad's crebibility as an expert has been thin since 2007, and comments like today keep it that thin. I really thought ESPN would let him go before the season. He seems like a happy, passionate guy - but he is still out of place on ESPN.

Buschseries61 said...


James Crooks said...

Personally, I've never had a problem with social media. I've been on Twitter for a few years myself, and have found it very useful as far as following racing and other interests of mine.

I wish many of the people I heard talking today would realize that Brad was tweeting during a red flag, with the car stopped, and the engine shut off. I've heard people panicking today about how Brad was tweeting or texting while driving, and how NASCAR and FOX glorified it. They did no such thing.

Brad's phone is his personal possession, and if he wants to keep it in his race car and use it while he's sitting still, I've got no problem with it.

Anonymous said...

Daugherty is so wrong on this I was sure your account would include him saying "Just kidding." Keselowski did an amazing thing. In NASCAR's first prime time appearance, he connected 200,000 people directly with the situation at hand. It was remarkable and revolutionary. All drivers should be allowed and encouraged to have a phone with them for such reason. Imagine tweets from an ambulance after an accident. While on stage during intros. During red flags...

Gin said...

You nailed it when you said: "social media is going to play a key role in setting NASCAR's future course." NASCAR needs to rebuild the dwindling numbers (fans, fans' money, ratings, and sponsors), and social media is a direct link to that fanbase. 100K new followers in one race? That's 100K people ready and wanting to participate.

(P.S. I now follow @TheDalyPlanet via my racing list on Twitter. How did I find you? Via @TheOrangeCone, of course.)

PammH said...

As usual, BD is WAAY off base. But I've saying that for yrs! Best thing Nascar did all wk-end NOT fine BK for the phone in the car. Great coverage for the sport, imo.

Stick with the Biff said...

Personally, I have little use for Twitter. But it was a red flag, man. They gotta stand around for a couple hours, and NASCAR won't even let them go see what's happening. I don't care what they do with their phone. I understand why the NFL made it a rule, but it's not the same situation, they're not driving. Brad overreacting.

Nature Boy NC said...

I thought it was great what BK did last night. Brad D. acts like BK was doing this while racing on the track.

Actually, my problem is Brad D. Never understood why ESPN hired him because he doesn't really offer anything other than acting all crazy when talking about "Junebug". Put Nicole with Rusty and Ray E. in the infield studio.

AllisonWonderland said...

Ive never gotten much from Brad D's commentary or found it especially informative. I more enjoy hearing from former drivers, crew chiefs, etc., I.e., people knowledgeable about racing. Until the comment regarding Brad K & Twitter I didn't have a strong opinion re Daugherty. Now I feel it is he who doesn't belong. Either you change with the times or you get left behind the times. NASCAR drivers interactions with fans is one of the many unique aspects that makes our sport so special and have such camaraderie. He's not feeling it--he should go elsewhere.

Jonathan said...

Hey well If it wasnt for you going to Twitter I would of never been on. Yeah I had an account but when I first signed on my picture was an egg lol! Well took my a good 50 laps to figure it all out but glad I did I like it. Thanks JD Its different but things are always changing and you either go with it or you dont.

starrcade76 said...
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starrcade76 said...

I'm not a Twitter user but can understand its appeal for fans and celebrities to interact. Having said that, I can also see where Brad Daugherty is coming from with his opinion.

Except in the situation which happened, with the race being stopped, there should never be any reason for a driver to use a cell phone in the race car. So why have it?

My guess is they will have to ban them in the cars anyway once Chad Knaus figures out a way to use it to his advantage

Jon D. said...

Brad Daugherty is there to be ESPN's "Darrell Waltrip" character. In no other sport do you see a competitor of another sport in a professional analyst role, at least none I can think of. But in my opinion there is very little good on-air talent doing NASCAR coverage.

Fed UP said...

Brad D..just doesn't get it. Times are a changing. Its not like Brad K. is traveling around the track and taking photo's of his buddies driving fast and texting while he's driving...Brad D is just jealous.

Anonymous said...

Usually I'm pretty light on the TV talent around here after having done some work in the business but I must say Brad Daugherty is the most puzzling of just about any of the analysts working in NASCAR today. I fail to see what he adds to any of the telecasts and have a hard time taking any of his opinions seriously.

Dot said...

Really Brad? Fine Kez? It's not like he was tweeting during GF & YF racing, or in the pits. This just confirms what we've been saying all along, "Why is he here?" I know it's based more on diversity than his insight.

I for one love Twitter. I have so much fun interacting with friends across the country and the world. It provides an opportunity to meet a diverse bunch of people (majority are race fans). Also, breaking news occurs there first before it's elsewhere online.

One more thing, the beauty of our sport is, it lets the drivers, spotters, etal talk to us prior (and in this case) during the race. I just hope nascar doesn't get any dumb Brad D ideas, like no tweeting on track.

JD, if I may, why not a better shot of JPM hitting the jet dryer? I understand the first shot, we didn't know if all was OK. But, not one good replay of it. I'm not being morbid, I just wanted to see JPM's "And He Walked Away!" moment.

Dennis said...

Dennis: "You definitely fire Brad Daugherty, I have had it with the anti-social media stuff. This is ridiculous. You are in the broadcast booth. You're a former professional basketball player. I don't know why you would have a job as race analyst in the first place other than to just take advantage of a diversity opportunity."

"There is no place for this in professional sports when you are the car owner. His focus is to be on the crash cart in the pits 100% focused on trying to field a car that's at least a little bit competitive. This sitting up in the booth talking stuff, especially spouting nonsense like this, I just think it is inappropriate and there is no room for that."

Sorry. Had to do it. :)

Joj said...

Brad D. is useless. He is an owner kind of - but an owner none the less.
He has just been an annoyance & a loud cheerleader. Who does he think he is? He needs to be an NBA analyst, he contributes zilch to the booth.
Except noisy nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Brad K should be suspended. There is no place for that during a competition. Most other professional leagues ban that sort of stuff. The fact the announcers were praising it was just disgusting.

And I don't need "the lecture" - I am on twitter.

As a matter of fact, the constant twitter references during the entire weekend (showing peoples "handles" on every single graphic, putting a hashtag under the logo, and mentioning it every freaking time they went to the HH) made the whole thing basically unwatchable.

DaveM4210 said...

Opinions are all over the place on this one! But like it or not, Twitter is going to become the next big thing in live TV events. CNN I think was the first to figure it out a couple years ago. Kyle Petty was doing it during TNT's NASCAR races last year. The Weather Channel discovered it a few months ago. Speed figured it out last year, and now NASCAR and Fox has figured it out. ESPN and Brad Daugherty have no clue (what's new about that?). A few of ESPN's NASCAR team use Twitter a little bit.

I am betting that changes once ESPN and the rest of the sports world learns what last night's events have done for TV ratings. Get used to Twitter during live TV events. It is here to stay and is only going to get bigger.

Steve L. said...

I agree with most on here that say Brad D. has no place in the announcer booth. Adds 'not a thing' to any discussions, except bias, for his favorites. At times this weekend, it really sounded like him and Rusty were very argumentative on several subjects.

I would not miss him if he was to disappear from future telecasts.

Charlie Spencer said...

Like I said in one of the other columns, Brad Daugherty. doesn't 'get' Twitter, even less than I, and I didn't think that was possible.

First, let's address the circumstances. Brad K. was out of the car during a two-hour red flag; he wasn't texting from the middle of the pack in the tri-oval or during a pit stop. Daugherty has interviewed drivers during red flags for rain; how is this any different? How would Fox like it if drivers stopped talking to their reporters while their battle-damaged cars were being repaired?

But what Brad D. is overlooking is that unlike other sports, race teams literally cannot compete without sponsors. If a 'stick and ball' player doesn't sign an endorsement contract, he can still play for and get paid by his team. The two contracts are completely separate. If a NASCAR team (and by extension, its driver) don't have a contractual agreement with a sponsor, they're going to be at best an uncompetitive S&P team, resulting driver's pay far below average.

Those sponsor contracts often require the driver to perform services outside the car or away from the track. The sponsor expects the driver to be the face of its products or services. I would not be surprised to see contracts start to contain clauses mandating certain forms and levels of online social participation (if they don't already?) and possibly describing the acceptable content (see Kasey Kahne, who won't be getting a contract from the La Leche League any time soon).

Brad D., it's marketing, pure and simple. Social media participation is another link between the sponsor, the driver, and those people who are both the driver's fans and the sponsor's target audience. While I may not have found much use for Twitter personally, I can recognize the value of it as a marketing tool.

Charlie Spencer said...

While we're at it, how does Daugherty feel about his network talking to its 'in race reporter' driver under cautions? Isn't that far more of a distraction? Maybe he'd care to explain why that's okay but using the phone under a red flag isn't. Maybe he could compare and contrast the use of a cell phone for Twitter vs. using a land line to make a voice call when the race is stopped.

Anonymous said...

Give BD a break! He has been around racing most of his adult life and is a car enthusiast all while being an NBA player too!

Yes, he is wrong on his opinion about the twitter thing, but that's his opinion! I find most of his commentary to be pretty spot on.

In fact, he is much more accurate than either of the Waltrip brothers' comments while calling the races. They just open their mouths and spew inacuracies!

My vote still goes to keep BD in the mix and refine the talent that are calling the reaces.

Just my opinion!

subsailor_739 said...

Big Brad, hop on the train and come on up to 2012. The only thing Keselowski did was help grow the sport.

Love The Daily Planet

sue said...

I'm really conflicted concerning this. I read that Brad K's twitter numbers shot up. Big deal. What information did he give during the red flag that necessitated in his increase in numbers. Nothing. Folks were bored with a 2 hour delay. There was no breaking news folks given to us by Brad. And yes I am a twitter follower.

Oh goodness are we now going to see a baseball player stuck on 2nd base as a new pitcher takes his practice throws twittering on his phone. I hope not. I agree with Brad D that it truly diminishes the professionalism of the sport.

I've always been told that too much of anything is not a good thing and that there's a time and a place for everything.

Anonymous said...

There is an article on, right now, that addresses Mr. Daugherty's background concerning the sport.

Some of you might want to google him. You will find that he actually is a racecar driver and will compete this year.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

I think Twitter is great. I checked it while we were under the red flag. The couple sitting next to me had an iPad and they were checking also!! He had an unlimited plan, so was pulling up the You Tube videos (yes within minutes of jet dryer crash) and sharing with all of us around him!

Think Brad D was a tad over the top on this issue.

How does NASCAR know if Brad K has any telemetry type apps on his phone:-)??? Husband pulled up a couple last night checking them out. Maybe wouldn't work in race car, but how do they know???

Andrew Maness said...
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oldirtracker said...

In my humble opinion, everything that dribbles out of Brad D's mouth is whacked, fox should put him in the booth with the Walchump brothers and it would be like a replay of the three stooges.

Andrew Maness said...

I agree with Brad Daugherty in this instance. When I initially saw Mr. Keselowski with a phone in his car, I thought, "Oh my, that's awfully unprofessional." I wasn't too stirred about it, however, because it was during a red flag condition. His tweet after his wreck, though, was while he was in his car under a yellow flag. The race is still in the existentialist present at that point. So while other drivers are on the track focusing on their jobs, Mr. Keselowski got on his phone and decided to take his focus away from getting off the track. That could have been dangerous. Thank goodness that it was not.

Tweeting, like all of forms of recreation, becomes a problem when it interferes with one's job. Though banning of social media would be the wrong way to approach Monday's situation, NASCAR should install a policy that disallows any type of social media device in the car. As was exhibited two nights ago, there exists potential for a distraction with unintended consequences.

I would encourage Brad Keselowski to keep tweeting, but to limit his media presence to outside of the racecar only.


KoHoSo said...

The only thing I can think of that would make Brad say this is that ESPN ordered him to fill the Skip Bayless role for their NASCAR coverage.

AncientRacer said...

NASCAR is a bureaucracy. If Kes had asked if he could the answer would have been the one Big Brad gave. That is what bureaucracies do: The First Answer is Always NO.

But Kes did not ask and we are the better for it, and I'll add my opinion of him, which had been minimially positive as he has called my guy rude names, has undergone significant improvement.

If I chose to be cynical and snarky now -- which of course I would never do -- I might say Big Brad is miffed because as Bananas have no bones Basketball uniforms lack pockets.

Veri Words: "Jesiout Forepti" I am certain I have heard that in church ;-)

SnowdogBob said...

I think it's just fine the Brad tweeted, but i wouldn't expect it to ever happen again during a Red Flag, because i don't expect a driver to have access to a computer in the car with them that could easily (if there's not an app for that there could be) be plugged in to provide the dreaded "Traction Control". My understanding is it takes nothing bigger than the size of a thumb drive and in the past drivers have brought such devices into cars and forgotten to take them out with them after crashes only to be found (not officially but NASCAR lore says it's so).

I think Brad is 100% right from the standpoint of EVERY other sport but NASCAR. should bench players in baseball tweet from the bench during the game? should QBs send a quick tweet before coming out of the locker room for the second half? should hockey players tweet from the penalty box? should a goalie hop on twitter when he's pulled to try for that last minute offensive push? The only comparison i can find where tweeting might make sense is when a pitcher is pulled from a baseball game (and can't go back) that tweeting wouldn't seem offensive to the nature of the game. so i think Brad was just speaking as an athelete that to him it seems really out of line that 100% focus should be on the game, but for brad it was second nature and no more distraction than racing for the porta-potty or cutting up with the other drivers on the backstretch.

I just personally see twitter as a downward trend that NASCAR got to late, social media is growing but Twitter as the focus of that seems to me (from a technology/business standpoint) as nearing the end of it's run.

Anonymous said...

BD might be a 'race car driver' but he's not a 'racer.' Matt LeBlaunc drove in a race but I sure in the hell wouldn't want him calling Daytona. BD annoys me. DW annoys me too but at least he has the experience and knowledge to back up his dorkiness. The best in the booth have not only experience, but passion. I think BD lacks both.

I miss Ned Jarrett:(

diane said...

Basically, Daugherty is saying "Heh you kids get off my lawn"! Its a new world, he will figure that out soon.

Sophia said...

Well, twitter is far from on downward trend but it's new promoted tweets (followers of folks that are really ads) Is annoying many who have gotten them.

Also I am weary of the lame tweets often read on tv (not just nascar but across the board)

That said folks that claim twitter or maybe FB contains "I ate cereal for breakfast" are lying or hearing fake stories. Now that said, my local foodie tweeps have tweeted what we've made for dinner often followed by a photo, often followed by asking for recipe :)

I thought the Brad K on Twitter was an absolute hoot! & it was good for NASCAR, great for twitter & everybody.

That said, I never ever joined Twitter for 'interacting with famous people.' I joined it to promote a music show I did some years back..which led to following local people & learning more about the greater tri state area than I have in my life. Truth, about museums, little mom & pop restaurants/stores, news, events, ongoing local/global politics, fun photography, petition signing, names of dentists, etc.

So Brad "pretending to know what Twitter is" makes me laugh and shake my head=SMH.

Hey if you don't like something fine, but don't knock it until you've tried it. I hate FB & use it due to local contacts for music I help promote but to each their own.

Twitter has been life changing for many people, especially those with medical limitations that keep them semi housebound or in different social circles.

It's also the best for latest news updates & racing updates but only if one wants to use it.

i.e. I found out Davey Jones of the Monkees died today before it broke on any online site i glance on.

Many of us Indycar drivers found out Dan W died in the last car race last season 60 minutes or more before tv told us the sad news...but we knew in our hearts something horrible had happened to the big one that should never happen in open wheel & tarp over Dan's car :(

That said, you must check your sources and not RT (retweet or repeat) any "breaking news" without trusting the source.

I think this makes Brad just look foolish. If he doesn't like SM then just say so.

But the fact Brad's followers increased by 100,ooo during the race is proof of it's enjoyment & news worthieness right there.

I also found out of the plane crash on the Hudson a few years back via a twitter photo of folks standing on plane wing in the water. Will never forget it.

Sorry to be so long.

I'm much briefer on twitter.
140 character limit :)

P.S. Is it me or are the word veris almost impossible to read sometimes? Who picks out this stuff & the audio sounds like it's from a space ship.

Anonymous said...

How's Brad's tweeting any different than, say, an MLB player doing that during a rain delay? I like it honestly. It gave a us fans a unique opportunity to see things down at their level.

RRA-Phil said...

As a fellow Tarheel native I have been a fan of Brad D. for many years, mainly due to his success on the basketball court as well as his being a NASCAR fan and ultimately an owner. While he has much more direct NASCAR experience than I ever will, I must disagree with his opinion that Brad K. should be fined for carrying his cell phone in the race car and "tweeting" during the red flag delay. From a safety standpoint I believe that Brad K. has enough sense not to be texting while driving his street cars, much less in a Cup car at Daytona and that Brad D. should give him the same benefit of the doubt.

While Brad K.'s red flag "tweeting" has garnered him, NASCAR, and Twitter a lot of exposure & publicity, I agree with SnowdogBob: it won't take long before some enterprising young crew chief figures out how to use one of those little handheld supercomputers as a traction control or telemetry transmitter device. NASCAR will be forced to ban them from going inside the cars and as a result it's goodbye to an innovative social media marketing angle.

Bill said...

I don't care for either Brad much, but I am 100% in agreement with Daugherty on this one.
I love it when social media nerds always respond to critics by saying that they just don't "get it." Brad D "gets it" just fine. A phone is not part of a driver's uniform, nor is it part of the racecar, hence any crew chief worth his mettle would not allow it in the car. Drivers are told to throw water bottles out the window once they're empty, because it is not only dangerous if it starts flying around the cockpit, but it's added weight, and a phone weighs more than quite a few empty water bottles.

Then, there's the message for the young ones. My skin crawled when I saw this kid with a phone who is driving a 200 mph racecar. How's Dad going to convince little Johnnie that it's not safe to use your phone and drive when a "professional" racecar driver has one in his racecar during a race!

Twitter Schmitter. You instant media nerds have a big time, but a telephone has no place in a car, let alone a racecar.

fabmaster said...

Hey Bill,

After the car was parked and he got out, he was using the phone. That's what I'm teaching my kids. Don't use the phone (for anything) until the car is stoped. What's wrong with that?

Roadgeek Adam said...

I am very biased in this situation concerning my outright hatred towards Twitter. Honestly if NASCAR was so worried about two team communication with a cell phone, standing outside doesn't help not come up with strategies. Brad taking his phone was wise for the red flag, not so wise that he chose Daytona to bring it, where he could likely break the phone in a wreck.

Bill said...

Nothing at all, fab. But I expect your kids aren't yet role model athletes/celebrities on national television in prime time, individuals who are considered to have superior skills and judgment when it comes to driving automobiles.

If Brad had somehow gotten a crew member to bring him his phone during the delay (wouldn't be feasible, I know), it would have sent an entirely different message. First, you had Edwards rolling video during Daytona testing, and now BK carrying his phone during the race. Not too bright, especially when the NTSB wants to ban all cell phone use in cars.

Now, I don't agree at all that BK should be fined or charged, as there was no prior rule. Brad found a "gray area."

Andrew Maness said...
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glenc1 said...

The whole 'computer in the car' thing, if it truly is an issue, should be enforced; and perhaps we won't see it again from the car. But let's say this had happened in a rain delay. They're parked on pit road and get out of the cars, and an assistant hands him his phone. I see nothing wrong with anyone tweeting under those circumstances.

Anon 10:47--I just have to say it; most of us here are race fans...we are well aware of Brad D's background and certainly don't need to google him to find out. It's a media blog, his qualifications have been discussed here many times. Maybe you should read some past columns before making that assumption about us. Many of us appreciate Brad's passion for the sport, but feel he is little more than a cheerleader.

Kim said...

NASCAR has finally entered the 21st century - this is great! :D I had more fun watching the red flag "on track" action than I can tell you.

Brad sounds like he was totally out of touch with what was happening Monday night. Was he even watching?

Vicky D said...

I could not believe Brad D spoke like he did against taking pictures & tweeting during a red flag of all things. It was crazy to me.