SBD/February 29, 2012/Media

Keselowski's Twitter Posts During Daytona 500 The Latest Step In Social Media Evolution

Keselowski triples his Twitter fellowers with posts during Daytona 500 delay
NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski tripled the number of people following him on Twitter Monday night after tweeting out pictures of the on-track fire during the Daytona 500 from his car, "just the latest episode in social media’s evolution,” according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. In “one night’s burst of Twitter posts, Keselowski became the symbol of NASCAR’s newly aggressive push into social media as a way to attract and interact with young fans.” NASCAR Managing Dir of Integrated Marketing Communications David Higdon said, “He distinguished himself in being the poster child for an engaging athlete -- the type of athlete that the fans really connect to in a multitude of ways.” Higdon added, “He’s a digital native. This is an extension of his personality.” Sandomir notes Keselowski “did not violate any rules, especially regarding the safety of its drivers," and NASCAR “decided not to fine him” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/29). YAHOO SPORTS’ Jay Busbee wrote NASCAR not penalizing Keselowski is “absolutely the right decision, and high praise to NASCAR for not clinging to some outmoded idea of technology.” Keselowski has been “winning accolades from all over the sports world for his move, and NASCAR would be foolish to restrict something that, in itself, has nothing but positive effects on the race and the sport's connection to fans” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/28). Columnist Kevin Blackistone said Keselowski's tweets were great, because he “wasn’t just about, ‘Oh, what I’m doing right now’ or sending out some witty retort." Blackistone: "This was actual news reporting. He even gave you photographs.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande said, “I’ve got mad respect for him picking up about 140,000 Twitter followers. ... But you have to wonder: Who carries a cell phone with them during a sporting event?” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/28).

NO PLACE FOR THIS IN RACING: ESPN’s Brad Daugherty said NASCAR should “definitely fine” Keselowski for having his cell phone in his car and tweeting during the race. Daugherty: “You’re 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’s no place for this in professional sports when you are the athlete.” ESPN’s Allen Bestwick noted drivers are "not allowed to have a recording device onboard” during a race (“NASCAR Now,” ESPN2, 2/28). Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock said, "I was surprised, first of all, that he’s carrying around a cell phone in his racecar. I don’t know if he’s making dinner reservations for after the race or what’s going on there” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 2/28).
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