The impact of social technology on our cars has not always been met with joyous applause. Indeed, twitter and facebook have long been condemned for their distracting qualities. Media and community groups around the world have criticized their open use, especially when used irresponsibly by celebrities. It is therefore not surprising that a few eyebrows were raised when NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski started tweeting during a race, embodying the negative qualities of the social network.
Last Monday the popular No.2 Miller Lite Dodge driver shocked quite a few people when he started posting both messages and photos on his Twitter account during a red flag stoppage at the Daytona 500. Reporters noted that he tweeted “fire!” as well attached a picture of the flames set off by the crash. By the end of the night it was retweeted nearly 5,000 times by his followers. Even more surprisingly, by the end of the race he went from a measly 65,000 followers to nearly 200,000.
Reporters at the Detroit Free Press and New York Times have noted that an individual online beseeched him to stop his twittering and he responded that he didn’t tweet and drive. Indeed, he also responded to another fan by stating that he would put his phone back in his pocket right when the race begins. While it is true that the Dodge vehicle was not in motion, in fact it was completely halted, there was still some concerns about tweeting during the motorsport.
This problem was reintroduced when the driver crashed on Lap 187. Here he escaped from the wreckage of his vehicle he tweeted that there was “nothing we could do there” and that he “never saw the wreck till we were windshield deep.”
It was noted by the New York Times that NASCAR had a policy against electronic devices. However, this policy only applied to vehicles that were in motion. As Mr Keselowski did not technically violate these rules the organization did not fine him for his actions.
While there was some manoeuvre to punish him for his actions, it was seen as an interesting move to attract and interact with the fans of the sport. Perhaps this move is the next step in the evolution of social media. Indeed, this may be the first event in many that will show sportsmen and women are beginning to share their views during the sport. If only from a psychological perspective it appears that this may well be the way the trends.