Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up next, Sherry Pollex, the longtime partner of Martin Truex Jr. (Note: This interview was conducted prior to Sherry’s public revelation of a cancer recurrence.)
Let’s start with your Twitter account. Sometimes you’re willing to put yourself out there, get opinionated. You’re really willing to speak your mind. What’s your basic philosophy with how you use your Twitter account?
My Twitter account is my only account that I have that’s public, so it’s my only chance to really give my opinion and be opinionated with the fans or just people in general about how I feel about things, whether I’m talking about my life, my personal life, cancer, racing, whatever. So I kinda use that as my platform.
I know that not everyone probably agrees with me all the time, but that’s OK, they don’t have to. As long as they’re respectful, I don’t block them. I try not to block people unless they’re mean. If they talk — can I cuss?
OK, if they talk shit about Martin, I’m gonna block them because I don’t like when people talk shit about him. So I’m really protective of him. If somebody says something bad about him — because he’s like the nicest guy ever — then I have to block them.
You and I have talked a couple times this year about me saying some things that aren’t totally politically correct, so I’m sure I’m not on everyone’s good side all the time. But it’s my opinion, it’s honest — and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to follow me.
From afar, I look at the motorhome lot that we’re in right now and I’m like, “Everyone is so tight-knit.” But you’re saying stuff that at times might make some people mad within the motorhome lot. So do you ever get blowback from that? Does anybody ever come to you and say, “You shouldn’t have tweeted that?”
So that’s not happened to me ever, but I have heard that happening with some of the other wives. I think at times people tend to say things that are a little sensitive to other people’s husbands, and after the race it can get a little ugly on Twitter. I’ve seen some Twitter wars between the other wives. Luckily, I have never been in the middle of one.
I know there’s been some discussions in the motorhome lot after the races. Hopefully they talk it out and let it go. I think that things are just said in the heat of the moment and maybe they weren’t meant to be mean, or they weren’t meant to be rude to that person. So hopefully they talk it out like adults afterwards.
But I’ve actually never had that happen. I have gotten some Twitter wars with people on there that are mean to me, because I think people can be so quick to be judgmental on Twitter because you’re judging somebody by 140 characters or something that they’re saying.
I tell people all the time, “You don’t know me, so don’t judge me.” Don’t judge my situation. Don’t ask me why I’m not married. You know what I mean? There are so many things that are not appropriate for that time. You don’t know my situation, you don’t know my life, so don’t make those assumptions and I won’t make them about you. I think that’s the only time it’s ever really happened to me, with just people following me.
So you feel in some ways that you’re opening up your life, but then you feel like people are thinking they’re entitled to more. Like, “You gave me this one answer, this one insight, so where is the rest of it?”
Yeah. I do think people do that. So a lot of times I’ll start something, but then I don’t finish it because people do that. They keep writing and they want more, and it’s almost like they want me to say something I’m not supposed to say. And I’m not gonna do that, because it’s not the appropriate place to do it.
But I do get the marriage question a lot. I get a lot of people that ask why we’re not married. Well, it’s been 12 years, we’re still not married, we’re probably never gonna get married — so if we’re OK with it, you should be, too. Not everybody wants to be married, let’s just get that clear. So I think it depends. I try to just run that middle line all the time. I try not to make anyone too angry and just try to stay kinda even and cool.
So you’ve talked about the people that deserve the block if they talk shit about Martin. What else deserves a block? Like how does somebody cross the line? Can somebody argue with you but not get blocked?
Yeah. I’m all for a good argument. Ask Martin: I was born to argue. I love arguing with people. But if you’re gonna argue with me, do it politely. Don’t call me names and don’t say anything obnoxious about Martin, because if you do cross that line, I’m gonna probably block you. But I really haven’t had to block that many people.
I’ve had one weird stalker guy on there that was like really, really crossing the line, like talking about my family and hurting me and people in my family. I actually had to get some people involved. It was really creepy. So there is some people that I’ve had to block where I’m like, “Don’t ever come near me. You scare me. You make me feel like I wanna have a bodyguard.” But for the most part, I think everybody’s pretty friendly.
How do you decide who to follow with your Twitter account? How often are you looking at it? Is it something where you’re getting your news from it?
I definitely use Twitter for news. I get on Martin all the time for being on his Twitter, but always he says, “This is where I get my news from. This is where I get all my information.” I tried going on vacation and (staying off it) like, “Don’t go on it for a couple of days,” but I feel like I’m missing out. I haven’t been checking it, and I’m proud of myself for not checking it, but then I feel like I’m missing out on something.
So I think there’s a really fine balance between being on it for informational purposes and to get news and then being on it too much and getting addicted to it, wanting to check it all the time to see what everybody’s doing. I naturally want to know what’s going on in other people’s lives all the time — and I think that’s human nature — but it can also be unhealthy. So I have to control it sometimes, like, “I’m only gonna check Twitter and Instagram once a day. Then I don’t need to be on it again.” It’s really hard to do.
I’ve struggled with that. I’ve pretty much given up, even on vacation, I just can’t stay off it. I think we’re just so tied into it. It’s really a link to the community too, so you know what everybody else is doing, you know what’s going on, and if you miss that, like, “Oh no you didn’t see that? You didn’t know what was going on with me?”
You feel left out, right? You feel like you’re missing out on something. Martin, I give him a hard time because he’s always on his Twitter on the bus, but he never tweets anything. So he’s always on there and I’m like, “Why are you on there if you never tweet anything and you don’t like it?” And he’s like, “I feel like if I’m not on it, I miss out on everything. I don’t know what’s going on. Everybody’s doing something and I need to know about it.” I’m like, “OK, that makes sense, because I do the same thing.” It’s hard to criticize others when I do it, too.
I just figured Martin never looked at it at all. I didn’t know he was sort of a lurker.
He’s like lurking in the background, checking it all the time. And honestly, I probably shouldn’t tell people this, but after the race, he is always checking his replies to see what people are writing to him. I think he likes to see what’s going on during the race and like what people are talking about. So yeah. He’s a lurker. He’s on there a lot. He just doesn’t tweet a lot.
You have Instagram accounts, Facebook, things like that for personal use and you keep it private. Is that just a way for you to have your own space in the social media world?
Yeah. I mean, I kind of struggled in the beginning. My Instagram was open to the public, and then I was like, “Eh, I really need to have something where I can post pictures for friends and family that don’t live here that I want to keep in touch with where they can just see it, and not everybody can see it.” So that’s why I keep my Instagram private.
I’m not a big Facebook person. I have an account, but I just use it for my business (Lavendar Boutique), so I’m never really on there. So I just do Twitter and Instagram. And I’m really addicted to Instagram — I’m on there all the time. I’m always putting stuff on my story and I like to share with my friends and family, but I need my own space to keep part of my life private. So that’s why I do that.
Where do the Sherry Strong accounts come into play (for her cancer prevention website SherryStrong.org)? Do you post a lot on those yourself? Are you looking at replies to those accounts as well?
Yeah, so the @SherryStrongOC pages — we have a Facebook, an Instagram, and a Twitter, and I post on all of them. My sister, Jill, does too because she runs that account. So we both kind of tag team it. Like if I’m like juicing it or doing something cool in the morning that I want them to see that has to do with my health, then I film it. And then we do a lot of articles.
It’s not even just for cancer patients, it’s just for people in general on how to keep their bodies healthy and how to be well and how to use cancer prevention — not just if you have cancer, how to control it. So I love doing all of that. That’s a really cool outlet for me to share with the fans and how I live my life every day. I really enjoy that. So I kinda do both.
I switch around. I help Martin with his accounts sometimes, too, so I do Martin sometimes, I do mine and I do the Sherry Strong. So I have a lot of different accounts that I switch around back and forth between.
What kind of feedback have you gotten from those Sherry Strong accounts? For instance, you were talking about deodorant at one point — like how a lot of the deodorants are toxic — and my wife Sarah switched over to a healthier deodorant after seeing your post about it. So you must get a good response when you’re educating a lot of people that don’t know about this stuff.
Yeah. So I posted the deodorant thing on my personal Twitter after we put out the Sherry Strong site, and it went crazy. People went nuts over it. So I got a lot of questions about that. I mean, that’s great; I’m glad to hear that Sarah switched her deodorant, ’cause that’s good.
There’s a lot of things I learned when I got cancer about toxins on my body or in our house and around the things that we use everyday, and it was eye-opening for me. I wanted to be able to share that with people, so I try to share the important things on my personal Twitter, too, so that people who don’t follow the Sherry Strong sites can see it.
But I try not to bombard people that follow me on my personal Twitter. I know that they don’t want to hear about deodorant everyday — and I don’t write about deodorant everyday — but it is important that people know about the toxins in their body and their environment, so we do a lot of that.
And I enjoy sharing that information because it’s a lot of work to get all that and figure out what that means and what that means in your household and for you body, so we try to decipher all that for all the fans and do it for them.
What are some of your favorite accounts to follow that makes being on Twitter fun for you?
Oh geez, I have a lot of favorites. So I follow a lot of the drivers, of course. I really enjoy following Dale Jr. because he’s really funny. I’ve known Dale for a long time — Martin and him have been friends for a long time — and I know he’s really witty and funny, but he’s really funny on Twitter. Like you see his true personality come out. He’s probably my favorite person to follow.
Then I follow a couple celebrities. I follow Ashton Kutcher and random people, just celebrities that I like in movies and stuff. And then I follow some health-related stuff that I like. You put me on the spot — I can’t think of any others off the top of my head besides I really like to follow Dale Jr.
Do ever have to mute anybody?
No, how do you mute people? What are you talking about?
So if you mute somebody on Twitter, you still follow them, basically, but you no longer see their tweets so they don’t know that you don’t see their tweets. They’re just out of your timeline so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.
I didn’t know you could do that. So now you gave me this new trick that I’m gonna have to do. There might be a couple people I’m gonna have to do that to. I don’t feel like I follow that many people, but I probably do. I haven’t even looked to see how many people I follow (769). But there might be some people who I need to pull that card with now. I don’t know. You just gave me a new trick up my sleeve.
You may no longer see my tweets after this. So are you into Snapchat at all? Have you ever considered looking at Snapchat?
I’m not on Snapchat. Well, I take that back. I do have Snapchat on my phone, I did create an account, but I just never use it. I use it to take the funny pictures with the filters. So I do all the funny faces then I save the pictures and send it to people, but I don’t use Snapchat.
I took over the NASCAR Snapchat one day, and that was fun. Martin and I had some fun with that. But as far as opening it up to the public and using it, I think I just have so many other things that I wanna do with my time, it gets overwhelming.
I’m already doing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all that, so I don’t need to have one more thing with my time. I wanna spend time with my friends and family and be present in the moment, so I kinda have to pick and choose.
How much during a race are you looking at Twitter? Obviously you’re watching what’s going on on TV. Do you listen to the radio for Martin? How much information do you pull from Twitter as the race is actually going on?
I definitely listen to Martin’s radio, and then I’m always on Twitter during the race. So whether I’m writing anything or not, I use it for information. I read what the other wives are saying about their husbands’ cars, I read what the teams are saying about their cars, I read about what’s going on when a caution comes out, I read about what the media says. I read everything on Twitter during the race. I think it’s just a good place to get information and it kinda keeps me engaged and I can hear things that are going on with our team outside of Martin’s radio. So it’s super useful during the race, for sure.
Any final thoughts on where you think social media is going? It’s obviously come a long way in our lifetime — in the last few years really. It’s sort of crazy how it’s just suddenly there and everybody’s using it all the time. Where is it going next?
I don’t know. That’s a good question. Social media has blown up. I remember when Twitter first came out and we got on it and everyone was like, “This isn’t gonna be big. No one’s gonna do it.” And it’s huge. So I can’t even imagine where it’s gonna go now with all the video technology. Now you can do surveys and all that stuff. I can’t even imagine in five to 10 years from now where it’s gonna be.
My hope for the youth of America is that they’re not so engaged on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that they forget to look up and enjoy their lives and live in the moment. I know we’re all kind of guilty of that, and I’d hate to see that with the younger generations.
I think it’s cool that they have all these different avenues and ways they can connect with other people — I just hope they don’t miss out on their lives, too.