Social Spotlight with Scott McLaughlin

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. This week: Australian Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin, who has been dominating that series this season by leading in points, wins and poles for DJR Team Penske. I spoke with McLaughlin at Watkins Glen, where he was on hand to watch his Penske teammates in the NASCAR race.

I’m curious to see how social media use in Supercars compares to the NASCAR world because in NASCAR, it seems like almost all the drivers are on Twitter and they’re very engaged with each other and with the fans. How is the Twitter community for Supercars?

I’d have to say that the Twitter community is actually not as big in Australia as it is in America. For instance, I feel like it’s very popular in NASCAR, but for us in Supercars, Instagram and Facebook are far bigger, and not so much Twitter.

Is that because you guys have a little bit of a younger audience, as far as you know, than maybe NASCAR does?

I think so. It’s just Twitter isn’t a popular social media tool in Australia. It’s used by a lot of people, but for following, I feel like a lot of people love seeing the photos. They can do that on Twitter, too, but on Instagram…I don’t know, it’s weird. Australians are weird. Let’s say that. (Laughs)

What is your favorite form of social media to use?

I like Instagram. It’s quick, easy, picture, bang on there and it’s a cool little thing. Facebook is good because I like commenting back — it’s quite easier to do that. And Twitter, I like it for the news. I watch it all and follow the NASCAR teams and stuff, so when I wake up in Australia, I can see what’s going on. It’s sort of my news source.

Do you ever go back and forth with other drivers on there? Is there a dialogue at all?

Yeah, I do. I speak to most of my teammates from America on there, DM on Twitter mostly. That’s sort of my text tool in some ways. Instagram probably not so much, but Twitter is probably the main point I use for interacting with my teammates over here.

I noticed a post you just had recently where you took your mom and dad for a spin in your car. So you posted that on Instagram, and it also gets posted on Facebook and Twitter. Do you have somebody that helps you take those posts and put them in different places, or do you have to manually go yourself and put it on all the platforms?

I do it all myself on my Twitter. It’s something I enjoy. When I was growing up, my hero was Greg Murphy, a famous race car driver in Australia, and all I wanted to know was what he was doing. I’ve sort of taken that on board and gone well with it — that’s what I do on my social media, tell people what I’m doing. It’s a cool thing to bring the fans closer to you and it’s something that I enjoy. It’s not a burden to me at all.

What’s the fan interaction like? You said you go back and forth with people on Facebook, you comment back to them. Do you see what people comment on Twitter and Instagram as well?

Yeah, absolutely. You have your good and bad ones, sometimes you have some rude ones, but you shouldn’t be on social media if you can’t (deal with) the hate. I have a lot of fun with it sometimes. I’ve seen Brad (Keselowski) on there a couple times — he is so funny with some of the dudes on Twitter. But it’s all part of the gig. I enjoy the interaction, like I said.

If you get a negative one, do you block them, do you just ignore them? How do you handle it?

It all depends on what they say. If they say something really bad that I don’t want on my social media, things I don’t find appropriate, then I will block them because you don’t need that stuff, but it’s more for my own fans to see that. I have a lot of young people that follow me as well, and it’s just a bit of respect. Like I said, if you can’t (deal with) the hate then you shouldn’t be on it. I’m pretty sure I’m not too bad at it.

Do you have any accounts that you just use for your personal use? Because obviously you have a lot of public stuff, but you might want to have stuff just for your friends and family. Anything like that?

I have Snapchat, and that’s the only thing I’ve got that’s private. I have a private Facebook page too, but people still seem to find you on there anyway. But my Snapchat is something that’s quick, it’s easy and communicates with a lot of people over in America as well.

So any thoughts on making your Snapchat public, or do you just want to keep that as your own space?

I think that’s the only thing I’m gonna keep private. I feel like I do enough that people can see a lot of my life, and then I’ve got Snapchat there just for a little bit of fun.

Over here, I feel like a lot of young people are like, “Ah Facebook, that’s what our parents use,” and you’re starting to get a lot of the Millennials away from it and they don’t really use Twitter either. Do young people in Australia still use Facebook a lot?

Oh yeah. But I am noticing that a lot of the older generation is using Facebook. Even my Nana is on Facebook, and that’s pretty scary. It’s one of those things that’s quite diverse these days, but definitely the older generation is using that sort of stuff a lot.

How much time do you have to put into it? Do you get the pictures from people and have to say, “Here, can you give me a picture from last weekend?” and you go and try to find the right one for Instagram? How does that process work?

That’s what I do. I actually enjoy going through all the photos. I’m on a Dropbox file with my team so I get all the photos from the sessions across the weekend and I just pick out whatever I like and use it. I’m busier during the weekend with all the social media, but then when I’m away like this, I’m here with Penske and Jeremy Troiano, who’s the PR guy for them, and he takes photos for me or whatever, and I take photos myself. But I think if there’s a good photo of me and Brad or of me and Joey, it’s quite cool to get that from him, and then I’ll post it on socials.

So for NASCAR fans who don’t have a good concept, how big of a sport is racing in Australia?

It’s massive. It’s third…one and two is AFL and cricket and then it’s motor racing. Because we race so much and it’s on throughout the whole year, we do get popular at different times of the year, especially around the Bathurst race and stuff like that. But it’s very popular in Australia, and that goes to show how professional teams need to be.

I heard someone say you actually grew up watching all forms of racing including NASCAR. What did you gain from watching NASCAR when you were a kid?

I just gained a lot of respect on how they raced: The boys have at it thing, I loved that. They get a lot more things than we do, but it’s definitely a really cool thing in regards to how hard they race: Loose is fast, stuff on ovals, how they run the high line, the low line, the middle lane, whatever. I really take an interest in how they strategize throughout the races. It’s really cool.

Did you ever have a favorite NASCAR driver to watch when you were growing up?

When (Marcos) Ambrose came over here, I was a big fan of him. But I’ve always been a Jeff Gordon fan for a long time. Dale Earnhardt. Obviously, they’re the most popular guys, but I’ve always had a massive crush on Jeff Gordon’s car, his DuPont car. I’ve always liked that. The (paint) scheme was pretty cool, but I better say I’ve supported Penske all the way too, though. (Laughs)

Where do you think social media is going next? You obviously are on all these platforms, fans can easily see you and follow you. What is the future like, do you think?

I think it’s pretty good. I don’t know where they’re gonna evolve it from now because it’s very close now. I think live video is still where it’s at. It depends on the commercial side, but the live TV and stuff — now obviously I know that’s a very touchy subject with some of the broadcasters, but I think if you can bring a little more of the live stuff, you can join them in the race car live on Facebook or something like that. I reckon that would be sick, that would be something that’s really cool. And then you can get the data, that would be something cool, you know? I think that’s something they should look at, maybe restricting the rules on the commercial side would be good.

This interview was brought to you by Dover International Speedway. The cutoff race for the first playoff round takes place at Dover on Oct. 1. Here’s a link to buy tickets (and make sure to come say hi at the tweetup).

Social Spotlight with Noah Gragson

Each week, I ask a member of the motorsports community to shed some light on their social media usage. This week: 19-year-old driver Noah Gragson, who is currently ninth in the Camping World Truck Series standings for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

One thing that caught my eye recently on social media has been your, “If you give me a certain number of retweets, I’ll do this crazy thing.” And you ate a huge thing of wasabi because of it. What is wrong with you, Noah?

We were at lunch. I was with my helmet painter — a guy named Greg Stumpff, he paints all my helmets at Off Axis Paint. We were eating sushi, and it was me, a couple of my buddies and Matt Crafton was there, too. One of my buddies said, “If you get 1,000 retweets, you have to eat the wasabi. Tweet that right now.” And I was like, “Hell yeah” (because) I’m not gonna get 1,000 retweets, you know?

So he’s like, “That’s too much, you have to get 500 retweets.” And so I tweeted it out, 500 retweets and I tweeted a picture of the wasabi deal. And the deal was if I got 500 retweets by the end of the meal, I had to eat it.

So I was like, “I’m not getting it. It’s 30 minutes, it’s not going to happen.” Anyway, let’s say it’s a 40-minute meal and we’re 35 minutes in and I’m rushing to get the check and everything because I’m like, “Hell yeah, this ain’t happening.” And 300 retweets in, I’m like, “There’s no way.”

And then Crafton tweeted Dale Jr. and NASCAR and few other people, he tweeted the Nascarcasm guy, and he said, “Listen guys, retweet this.” And we have five to 10 minutes left in the meal, and in 30 seconds, Dale Jr. retweeted it. And 30 seconds later, it was already up to 700 retweets. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this guy is a God, Dale Jr.” So that was the highlight.

I think I’ve watched that video three or four times to see your face. What was the reaction after that?

I kind of cheated the system. I haven’t told anyone — don’t tell anyone this — but as I took the wasabi, I kind of rolled it up and got a lot of it in my hands so I could make the ball smaller, like rub some off. And so I put it in my mouth and it all pasted down my throat, like rubbed down it. It was the most disgusting thing.

And I don’t really throw up from that kind of stuff, but I started gagging instantly. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is so hot” and everything. So I put that in, and it was burning for about an hour. I’d say I had a rock pit in my stomach for two days straight. It was not good. But hey, I got retweeted by Dale Jr., so it was well worth it.

I was more asking about the social media reaction than the physical reaction. I mean, I’m sorry that happened to your body, but…

(Laughs) Oh, so the social media reaction, it blew up. I honestly didn’t think it was as big as it was going to be. I had people tweeting me like, “I’m watching TV in Canada right now and you’re on the TV.” Another guy tweeted me like, “Hey you’re on the ‘Mike & Mike in the Morning’ TV show right now.”

I didn’t even know you made Mike & Mike.

SportsCenter and USA Today Sports tweeted it. So I was like, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool.” My dad follows me on Twitter and everything, he saw all that stuff and I was with him and he was like, “Man, sports must really be struggling right now if you’re making all those headlines.” It was pretty cool. I got a lot of followers off it.

So now are people expecting you to do more crazy things because they followed you because of this and they’re like, “Well geez, what’s the next crazy thing?”

It’s actually kind of funny. So I did that and I got 1,000 retweets on that tweet and a few people followed me. And then we went to Texas and it was my first time at Texas Motor Speedway, and they have this big gas station Buc-ee’s there. Have you been there?

I just went there on a road trip recently. Yeah, that’s crazy.

It’s like a Walmart-sized gas station. It was so awesome. So I took pictures in there and I was standing in the middle of the store; I took it of one side of the store and then the other side. I tweeted those two pictures, I said, “This is a gas station in Texas. They really don’t lie that everything is bigger in Texas.” And that got like 3,000 likes and 1,000 retweets. I’m like, “Man, we’re doing something on social media.”

And then for the Fourth of July, I got these visor sunglasses. They’re like the most total redneck thing you can find. So I had those and (tweeted), “500 retweets and I’ll wear them at Kentucky.” I got 500 retweets, so I had to wear them all weekend.

You wore them in TV interviews, I saw.

Yeah, so that kind of blew up and everything. I gotta be innovative and try to get myself on other people’s Twitter pages. That’s kind of my philosophy: How can I get my Twitter on other people’s Twitter pages that aren’t following me? And so that’s kind of like why I do those retweet deals and all that. And just to be a funny guy.

It seems like it’s a natural fit for your personality because you’re a fun dude. But on the other hand, it is very strategic in some ways because as a young driver, it helps to put your name out there, get people knowing who you are. So I’m sure there’s some pressure on you to keep trying to come up with cool stuff where you can continually do more viral-type things.

Absolutely. I don’t wanna say everyone’s like this in the garage, but people are just so kind of scripted, like even on TV interviews and all that. So I try to be that guy that people want to see. You can rattle off your sponsors, which is good because the sponsors are the reason why we’re out here racing. But I like to be that guy where people want to tune in for your next interview and be like, “What’s he gonna say?” instead of being that guy where they’re like, “Ah, he’s gonna thank his manufacturer and his three sponsors and he’s gonna say the car is good.”

I guess people would say I’m kind of out there, kind of like Kenny Wallace. I wouldn’t say I’m as bad as Kenny Wallace — because Kenny Wallace is a hilarious dude, but he’s a wild man. So I’d say I’m kind of a wild man, too. Just gotta keep the people wanting more.

What are all the forms of social media that you use, and can you rank those from your favorite to your least favorite?

I use four of them, I guess the four main ones. I’ve got Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. So Facebook, I’d say that’s the lowest. I have a lot of friends on there that are back in Las Vegas, older people like my grandparents and my parents’ friends who don’t normally have Instagram or Twitter. So I like to go on Facebook sometimes and post on my personal one to my friends. I also have a Facebook page that I post on for fans and everything. I don’t post as much on there (as on Twitter); I just scroll on the timeline and watch what seems to always be funny videos on there that people are sharing.

And then Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat. I’d say those are my top three. I’d say order-wise, I’ve noticed that on Instagram, the more I post, the more followers I get. So that’s why I kind of post quite a bit compared to some people that post maybe once a week or a couple times a month. So for me, I’m pretty daily on there for the most part. I don’t want to over-post, but I don’t want to under-post, either.

And then Twitter, I’d say that’s my top one, where I can connect more with the fans. I feel like stuff spreads more on there, like more people can see it just by retweets and everything. I can connect more with the fans just through messaging and just tweeting back and forth.

And then my Snapchat, I can connect with just my friends directly. You have to be following me to see my Snapchat story, so that kind of sucks because on Twitter, you don’t have to be following me to see my posts.

I get a pretty decent following on my Snapchat stories. I like to do funny stuff, like if I’m driving down the road and I see a car that’s all beat up, every time I see something like that I’ll put ‘Five minute clock, coming to ya,” and then it’s kind of an ongoing joke.

That makes sense about Snapchat because we were just talking about how on Twitter, you have some incentive to do crazy stuff since there’s a chance that other people could pick it up. Where on Snapchat, you can be as creative as you want and it’s gonna be completely missed — no one can really forward it out there, and they have to already be following you. So it’s sort of like Snapchat takes away that incentive. It would be good if they could do something where you could have it promoted in some way.

Yeah, I mean you can tweet your link to your Twitter and everything of your Snapchat handle and everything, but like you’re saying, you have to be following that person. It kind of takes away a little bit from it. Just being able to drive your Instagram followers or your Twitter followers over to Snapchat to follow you is really the main goal of mine.

You have all these accounts in public that you’ve talked about. Do you have any way to just privately communicate with your friends? Like if you want to post a picture or something just for your friends, not for public consumption, is there another way to do that?

I don’t have any other accounts. Back in Las Vegas — well, I think it’s gotta be countrywide or worldwide — but they call them finstagrams. I guess it’s like fake Instagram or whatever. Like let’s say someone has their public one for everyone to see — mom, their grandma, aunt, uncle from Zimbabwe or whatever they want. And then they got their private one where their close friends follow it and they post whatever they want while on that.

So I don’t have that. I’m not the type of guy that would post anything differently on the finstagram account that’s private just for close friends. What you see on my real Instagram is completely me. That’s what my private one would be.

So you don’t need a finsta because people are seeing how you are anyway?

Yeah, absolutely.

You talked about Twitter and how that helps you connect with fans. I feel like a lot of people around your age group, they’re not using Twitter as much anymore. They think it’s lame. Do you feel like you’d still find it valuable if you weren’t doing it for your job?

I feel like with the job, you have to grow your fanbase and you have to grow your following. I’m kind of the guy who likes to be in the spotlight; I’m more outgoing and talkative. I’m not real quiet. So I don’t know.

Like what I do on Twitter right now, just the position I’m in, I don’t think it would really work if I’m a normal 19-year-old kid who’s going to college. I don’t think it would work, because people wouldn’t find that really interesting. They’d be like, “Oh yeah, he’s just my buddy. I’m not a fan of his.”

I definitely wouldn’t have the following that I have now. I really don’t have a huge following (6,800 followers) compared to what those Cup guys do, but I appreciate all the people that do follow me right now. It’s cool to watch how much it’s grown this year and what it can possibly be in the future.

Well, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

Thank you. I’ve got question for you. Are there any other Jeff Glucks out there?

Yes. There’s a dude in Canada named Jeff Gluck and he has the @JeffGluck Twitter name, so I have to be @Jeff_Gluck.

I have the best idea. Times have obviously changed and you couldn’t get paid for expressing your thoughts or capturing what you do day-to-day like bloggers do, vloggers and all that stuff. You wouldn’t get paid for that 10 years ago. But times are changing and people are making money in different ways now.

I’ve been thinking about about it, and when a new social media app comes out, I’m going to make a bunch of accounts for it, like take the username “Kim Kardashian” and all those big usernames. And then you can go and sell it to those people and make money off it.

So the first week an app comes out, you’re going to take all these big celebrity names and you’re gonna make bank off it.

Wouldn’t that be smart? Would you pay a little bit of money for regular @JeffGluck?

Yeah, I don’t want the underscore anymore. Dude in Canada, if you’re listening, call me.

I totally understand. Thankfully, I have a unique name. Noah Gragson, like what kind of name is that? It’s cool just having it my name. I would have to have like two underscores after it and like a seven and random numbers and stuff. That would suck.

This interview was brought to you by Dover International Speedway. The cutoff race for the first playoff round takes place at Dover on Oct. 1. Here’s a link to buy tickets (and make sure to come say hi at the tweetup).

Social Spotlight with nascarcasm

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up this week: The online humorist known as @nascarcasm. This interview is available as a podcast and is also partially transcribed below:

Obviously, you had nothing handed to you. This is a creation you made. What advice would you give somebody who thinks they’re funny, or even a journalist just starting out on how to build a following on Twitter?

What you gotta do is look for something that’s nowhere else. At the time, I looked around and it didn’t look like too many people were cracking bad dad jokes about NASCAR. So that’s when I figured, “What the hell, let’s give this a start.”

That’s your niche.

(Laughs) Yes, exactly. Crappy dad jokes. It’s what it’s all about.

But that’s what makes it hard, because whether it’s a parody account or an inanimate object account or whatever it is, it seems to me like the first of all of those seems to be the one that takes off. And Twitter is so saturated now and it’s been around so long. (It’s) like, “What’s not out there that I can latch onto and make this account be about? What is there?”

The @NASfacts account, which is one of my personal favorites, that’s one that has somehow found this little niche. And if you’re not following it, you should. It’s hard to describe. I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but it’s from the standpoint of an unintelligent person trying to tweet facts about NASCAR. And again, that account didn’t exist at all. So here it comes, and it picks up a big following. So I would say the most important thing is to find something that hasn’t been done yet and do that.

That’s why accounts like @DarkStockPhotos, a guy who finds stock photography that has these really creepy, what-the-hell-is-this kind of connotations and puts them out there, they get hundreds of thousands of followers just for that because they’re the only person doing it. So it’s picking a weird idea like that and running with it.

In NASCAR, you’ve not only turned your Twitter account into a large following, but you’ve turned it into a job working for NASCAR.com. Obviously, NASCAR.com pushes your stuff out; they’re posting it. You have Facebook where you can do that. But how much of a role does Twitter remain in your job?

Very much. It’s very very important. It’s really still the best way to get yourself out there. We’re all serial link tweeters; that’s what it’s all about. I don’t really look at click numbers all that much, but you need Twitter to get that stuff out there. If you’ve got a big following, it’s a good way to yell at people and be like, “Hey, look at this.” So Twitter is still 100 percent important.

Just moments ago before we started this interview, I saw that you retweeted something funny about Chad Knaus lying on the ground. You made a Titanic joke. And Dale Jr. retweeted, quote tweeted you and said, “Hahahahaha.” What’s it feel like when a notification pops up on your phone that says, “Dale Earnhardt Jr. retweeted you and laughed at your joke?”

Here’s the deal: If Dale Jr. retweets you or quote-tweets you or answers you on Twitter, I’ve always likened it to if you’re a nerd in high school and all of a sudden the quarterback of the football team says, “You can sit at my lunch table.” That’s how it feels, like, “Oh my gosh, I hope I don’t make him mad. I hope he likes me.” It’s that kind of reaction. But it’s kind of akin to that. There’s sort of an, “Oh my gosh, what do I say next?” kind of deal with him because he’s just the overlord. I’m sure he knows that.

I was talking to Conor Daly earlier in the fan zone. And you walked by, and Conor Daly stopped and said, “Hey, the famous guy!” to you. It’s really funny how both in the IndyCar world and the NASCAR world, most of the drivers know you. How many of them do you know or have personally interacted with?

I’d say a few. Not really all that many. I’ve never felt like I should be in the position or was in the position where I could bum-rush a driver and say, “Hey, do you know who I am?” The way it started out, you were kind of a troll, you were kind of cracking jokes in the background. And I feel like to a degree, it should kind of stay in that regard.

Now if I meet a driver, obviously I’ve met Keselowski who’s been tremendous, I’ve actually met Jamie McMurray on more than one occasion and he’s actually a very good guy (despite their faux rivalry). If you’re still confused about that, that whole thing was like Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon light.

Your pretend feud?

Yes, exactly. And there’s all usually very nice. I do have a couple of funny interactions. The first time I’ve met people kind of stories. They’re usually like, “Oh that’s you,” handshake and go along their way.

I think I told this on the Nate Ryan podcast, and this might have gotten taken out actually, so if you have to edit it out also…but several years back for IndyCar I went out to the IndyCar finale in Fontana and Will Power won the championship that year. The night after, they had the banquet in the theater downtown and then the afterparty and so on.

And so the afterparty is going on for a while, it’s a fun time and one of my friends out there says, “You gotta come meet Will Power.” And I’m like, “OK, sure, I’ll do that.” So he takes me over past the velvet rope where the VIP area is, and Will’s there, and my friend there says, “Hey Will, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Dave here.” And Will goes (in an accent), “Hello, pleasure to meet you, how you doing?” And then I see my friend kind of lean in and whisper into Will’s ear, and Will turns to me and gives that signature lemur wide-eyed look and goes, “Get fucked, really?!” That’s probably the highlight. I don’t get the, “Hi, nice to meet you,” that often — that’s what I get.

I think on the podcast we did in May, you told a story about Carl Edwards pointing at you and gesturing you and stuff. So for instance, have you had a chance to say hi to Dale Jr.?

I met him in passing once years ago, but it’s kind of hard to do that. Sometimes in the beginning, a lot of people are like, “You gotta come by and say hello.” And if you’re at a track on a day where there’s practice and the track is hot, coming by and saying hello is a very difficult task. By that, if you mean do I loiter outside your motorcoach, do I come by your hauler? It’s just hard to do. So like I said, I got to meet him once in passing once back at Michigan. Nothing since. But he’s a busy guy, it’s alright.

One thing I noticed about your Twitter account is you’re not only interactive with the drivers, replying to them or tweeting at them, but you’re very interactive with the people who are replying to you, the regular readers. You’re extremely interactive with people. Why do you choose to write back and say thanks to all these people who are commenting back at you? 

I mean it’s the absolute least you could do.

It’s not the least because I do less.

(Laughs) Valid point. But for me, this is gonna sound totally lame, but if someone’s willing to click on a link that you barf out there and read through it…I don’t think I deserve a single click, but these people are doing that and if they take the time to say, “Hey that was good,” the least you can do is say thank you.

I know how probably painful it is to be a longtime follower at this point, and if they hadn’t clicked “follow” long ago, then I don’t know if I’d be here talking to you necessarily. So I wish I could take them all out to dinner at some point, but, you know, journalism degree. So like I said, it’s the least you can do. I try to do that as much as possible.

One thing I didn’t realize that happened, but we recently got verified on Twitter. I don’t know how Twitter’s algorithm works or how it figures out what it’s gonna put in your mentions and what doesn’t, but it seems suddenly to take those mentions out of your mentions timeline. A lot of people are responding, but for some reason it’s not showing up. So to me, I didn’t realize that was part of being verified, that that would happen. That’s been kind of detrimental. So I’ve gotta go back and do a lot of searching just to get as many people as possible.

I want to ask you about Facebook as well. Do you use Facebook for any sort of purpose in terms of driving links?

I only use that on a personal basis. It probably doesn’t make sense, knowing that Facebook is the most visited and most-used form, and I don’t have a page at all. So that’s how much sense I make at times.

But I only use it for personal reasons right now. I don’t visit it that often, to be honest, just because what they did with their timeline, where suddenly it’s, “Your friend’s cousin’s godfather’s second cousin liked this page about Rush Limbaugh.” That’s what it turned into. And it kind of turned me off in that regard. Yeah, I’ll visit it from time to time, but a lot of my Facebook friends, a fair amount are NASCAR motorsports followers, a lot aren’t, so I don’t feel like bombarding them with links necessarily. If something funny happens on the track, I’ll put a photo up or so, but I don’t wanna be link bombing all of these friends for years.

How about Instagram? What do you feel like the goal is with that, or are you just having fun with it?

Really, that’s just for fun. I’ve always liked photography. My wife is into it, too. Before this, I worked in graphic design, so there’s always been some visual interest, so to speak. I probably put way more out there than is necessary, but to me it’s just fun because it’s a much kinder place than Twitter is. You usually get, “Cool shot, bro.” That’s the kind of comments you get there. I’ve likened it to be a serene, peaceful area of social media where you can just go and look at all these pretty pictures and so on.

I tend to post more than I should if I’m at a track or if I’m on vacation because on the average work week, I work at home. I don’t see anything interesting or do anything interesting, you know? I don’t wanna post a picture of my energy drink every morning or my breakfast. That’s why when we go on vacation or come to the track, I just basically go completely nuts.

I remember you brought that up when you went to Dubai for your honeymoon: What is the right amount to post on vacation? For me, it’s like if it’s somewhere that I’ve never seen like Dubai or like when you went to China also, there can’t be too many. I wanna see this place, I wanna see it through your eyes and your perspective.

You talked about how Instagram is sort of a nice corner of social media where you’re not getting a lot of hate. Let’s talk about the corner where more hate comes, I guess, or more negativity, which is probably Twitter. By extension, somewhat Reddit is a social media form in some ways. I do notice at times that people on Twitter and Reddit just want to take shots at you for whatever reason, or you tweet out something and they’re like, “This is so lame, this guy.” How do you react to that? And how do you handle it in terms of Twitter? Do you use the block button, do you mute people or do you ignore it?

Ignore. The block button is way too much work, it really is. And it’s really, you gotta think, but to take the time to hit reply and tell someone, “You suck,” it’s like, “Thank you, I really appreciate that.” And to be fair, I put a lot of stuff out there where if I read it back, I would unfollow myself.

I really do bad dad jokes all the time, but I figured at this point, it is what it is. And you know, everything I put out there is not gold, I really know some of it is barely wood, so to speak. So people definitely have the right to do that. But again, it’s more of just an ignoring thing. It eventually goes away.

I can tell you it does affect me at times when I get some of that negativity. Does it throw you off at all? Did it affect you?

It did early on. There were some persistent folk, some really, really persistent folk, but I don’t hear from them anymore, and I’m still here shitposting, so it is what it is.

You’re often cited when people say their favorite NASCAR person to follow on Twitter is. I see that named a lot. So who are some of your favorites to follow on Twitter in general?

Again, @NASfacts is one of the funniest just because it’s one of those role-playing things. It’s so bizarre. When it comes to humor, I think Dale Jr. is really funny. I think Landon Cassill is probably the funniest because he is so immersed in that Millennial Internet culture; he can crack jokes to that audience. Me, I’m pretty old, and I follow him to see what the kids are doing, what’s hip and so on.

But my favorite, another good follow, my favorite comedian, a fellow named Anthony Jeselnik, and I believe that is his Twitter handle. He is a comedian who, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him at all.

Biting, dark humor, right?

I’m sure all of us, we’ve authored tweets and read it and deleted it like, “That’s too far.” Or we put stuff in our drafts folder where we go, “Maybe I’ll tweet that later, I can’t do that right now.” He doesn’t care, and that’s what amazing about it, is that he doesn’t care.

He discussed in one of his specials, about the whole “too soon” thing that happens in social media. When is “too soon?” And he talked about how on the day of any sort of tragedy, he puts a joke out about it. And it was really fascinating to hear why. He said, “I’m not making fun of victims. Victims got victim shit to do.” He says, “What I’m doing is I’m making fun of all these people whenever a tragedy hits, you feel the need to get on Twitter and say, ‘My thoughts and prayers are with so-and-so.'” He says, “That is like, ‘What a terrible tragedy, but look at me.’ It’s like a wedding photographer that only takes selfies.” And so, obviously I will never be at his level of not giving a shit necessarily, but it’s just like, “Wow, you went there. That took guts and you’re still here.”

What’s next for you as far as social media? Where do you see this all going for yourself? This journey’s been hard to predict. Do you have idea what the future looks like?

That’s the thing: I really don’t. Going back to the fact that I don’t know what to put on my business card, I don’t know what the long-term job outlook is for this, whatever it is. There’s really no prior metrics or statistics or person who did this before that I can go by. I don’t know if it’s a temporary thing, but I’d be foolish not to be here and do everything I can, because it’s a lot of fun.

I’m nowhere close to their level, but seeing like the Barstool Sports guys, who have suddenly turned this niche of sports and humor and mixed them, and they’ve just blown up exponentially. You gotta do it for as long as you can. Like I said, prior to this I was working in production in print media, and it ain’t like that was a growth industry, so I’ll stay here and I’ll have fun.

If it were to end, I’d just be grateful for the chance, because it’s been so weird to just be here and for it to happen.

Social Spotlight with Tiff Daniels

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up next: Tiff Daniels, media relations representative for Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 team.

You run an account that is giving updates on a driver both before and during the race, and a lot of fans are depending on this account. They’re eager for information. How do you decide what updates to send out and what to leave off?

So with Dale obviously, almost any content, people wanna see, right? The more Dale, the better for our fanbase. However, there are those moments that I certainly wouldn’t want to intrude on with him on the track. So I’m mainly giving them a little bit of an insider perspective, but still (sticking to) things that would be fairly obvious to anyone walking by. It just happens to be that I’m with him at all of these appearances and meet-and-greets that he does.

And then during practice session or the race specifically, I can listen to what he says on the public radio the same way anyone else can and kind of try and give an overview of what may be going on without getting into specific things he says about what the car may be doing.

So if he gives some kind of very specific feedback on, “Feels like we’re loose in, tight in the middle, loose off,” but then goes into more detail specifically about what they might be doing with springs or shocks, I’m not gonna put that out there. But I’ll put the general concept of what he may be dealing with in the car and same goes during the race, just so people following along kind of have an idea of what issues the team might be trying to overcome during practice or the race. And then just general updates on where he’s running and what’s going on — and obviously throw in some pictures into that, too, so they can feel like they’re there.

So essentially it’s stuff that’s publicly available. It sounds like you’re saying if you’re behind the scenes somewhere, it can be construed as a private moment, that’s not something you’re going to throw up on the feed.

Right. So if it’s something that happens inside the hauler and he’s joking around with Greg (Ives) and the team guys, that’s not a picture I’m gonna take and put out there, because they don’t want to have to filter themselves when they’re in a situation that should be considered private. And so you start affecting their communication if you get too involved in showing things behind the scenes that maybe should be kept private, because it’s an interaction between him and someone he’s close to or talking to that he doesn’t want to necessarily push out there.

And with Dale, he pushes out so much himself that if there’s something that he wants to tell you about that he did that’s cool, he’s gonna put it out there anyway. I don’t need to be the one to do that.

If fans of a sports team are tweeting during the game, they’re tagging the team and saying, “This is awesome,” or “This is terrible.” In NASCAR, every car is sort of a sports team and you have a whole nation of fans to answer to. So are you scrolling through the replies during a race and seeing what people are saying, or do you have to shut that off for yourself?

A little bit of both. Sometimes it’s just fun to read the replies, so I’ll scroll through and look. Other times, if there’s a lot going on, I may not have time to look through all the replies anyway. Sometimes I’ll look through them and see if anybody has a question that I can help answer. I don’t usually get involved when somebody says, “Oh, you guys are doing terrible right now,” or, “This is great, we’re so happy.” Those are great; we love to see all the fan reactions, but that wouldn’t necessarily be something that needs a response from me.

But if someone asked during a practice session, “Have you guys switched over to qualifying trim yet?” that would be maybe something I can answer. So every now and then I’ll interact. But for the most part, I kind of feel like now that Dale’s so active, that’s something that he enjoys doing and he’ll pick the questions that he wants to answer and those fans he wants to interact with. And they’d rather that interaction come from him anyway than from me, so I just kind of watch to see what people are saying more for my personal entertainment.

What happens when people get out of hand? Do you just have to ignore it and filter it out and say, “Oh, they’re just venting?” Do you ever use the block button, or is that a big no-no because it might be a fan?

I inherited this Twitter account from the girl who did PR before me, and I know that she had used the block button for a couple people, and it was mainly when people started personally attacking her about something that would have to do with updates — which is kind of crazy anyway, like we’re just the PR reps. What do I have to do with anything?

So I’ve never blocked anyone since I’ve been running it. I will mute people every now and then, especially if I see the same person who’s just using a bunch of cuss words and every post is so ugly that I don’t even want to read it. But I don’t usually block people because I figure my job is to provide the updates — so if people want to see them, they can follow us. If not, they can unfollow.

I often ask people working in the sport how they got to this point in order to give advice to people. I don’t feel like I can do this for you, because you took such an unconventional route. (Daniels is a former Late Model driver who was also an engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing.) It’s not something where you can just be like, “I recommend you start out driving a car, and becoming an engineer, and then going into media relations.” So you’ve touched so many different aspects of the sport.

I will tell you a quick story. So when I first started doing social media in the sport and I’d just switched over to the marketing side, I was working for (marketing agency) GMR on the Lowe’s Racing accounts and I was running the @lowesracing Twitter handle at the track. It was the first time they had sent somebody to the track every week to cover social, so I was around the team a lot more and we were just sending out a lot more updates than what they were used to seeing.

Well, during a race, I sent out some kind of update that was a little too specific, I guess, for Chad (Knaus’s) liking. I think Keith Rodden saw it somehow, and so I got called into Chad’s office the next week — and keep in mind I had not been there in very long. But actually, I get along great with Chad (Tiff’s brother Cliff Daniels is an engineer on the 48 team) and did even then. He was like, “So listen, you maybe understand too much and we’re gonna need you to kind of dilute what you put out there a little bit. These are the kinds of things that we want and we’re OK with, and these are the kinds of things we don’t.” Well, OK, good to know. (Laughs)

That’s pretty funny, because I’m sure there’s a lot of people who come from outside the sport and they have a lot of catching up to do. But here they are telling you, “Hey, dumb it down a little bit. Pretend you don’t know as much as you know.”

Right. And then you get the fans that actually really follow it closely and they want that specific information or they’ll be listening on the radio, because you can tune in from home or anywhere to the radio communications and pick Dale’s channel. They’ll be like, “That’s not exactly what he said — he said this.” I know. I know what he said, that’s just not what I’m allowed to post.

Let’s get into your background a little bit. You obviously started as a driver and you ran some K&N East races. I was looking at some of the tracks you ran, and you even ran Dover, which must be so weird. Everybody else in the media and PR room have only worked in the sport in those roles. But you’re like, “I drove here.” That has to be kind of strange in some ways.

It is a little bit different. I think the only four tracks on the (Cup) circuit I’ve raced are Loudon, Dover, Bristol  and Watkins Glen — which that was crazy.

The first time I came back to those tracks, it was different. Now I would probably have more of the some attitude as any other PR rep, you know: “We’re just here to do our jobs,” and I’m not even thinking about what’s going on out on the track because I’m not plugged into that part of it anymore.

But yeah, it was different at first and then certainly interesting to see after the drivers made a run what comments they would have to say about somewhere. It’s like, “Oh, I know what you’re talking about with that line.”

That’s so funny to me. And it makes me wonder: Do you ever look at the young drivers in the sport (who she raced with) and your competitive juices get flowing? Like do you think, “Maybe I could have beaten you at some point?”

There are definitely times when that can cross your mind. I would say that happens a lot less now than when I first stopped driving and was still coming to the track just working.

But we still like to go out to a go-kart track like GoPro Motorplex and just mix it up. A lot of current drivers will come out there, especially the younger guys. And it would be guys we grew up racing against anyway, and we’ll all have fun and beat and bang with each other. So that’s how I get (the competition urge) out now, and then staying competitive in other ways like triathlon or running. It keeps you kind of from going crazy thinking like, “If this person made it, maybe I could have.”

But I’m so happy where I am now and I feel like this is the right place. So when I look at some of the pressure Dale has on him, for example, when he’s doing stuff, that’s a tough job and not everybody realizes it. So I can certainly appreciate the job those guys do and the work everybody has to put in to get to where they are. Even if people’s parents have money, they still didn’t just end up here without putting in any work. So you’ve gotta kind of appreciate that everybody’s put some effort into it to get here in the first place.

So why was marketing and PR and social media a better fit for you than some of the engineering stuff that you first did when you left driving?

I was actually still driving while I was engineering (at Ganassi) and so maybe that was part of it. I had always been hands-on with my own race cars, and so I felt like from the school part of it, engineering was as close as I could get to that hands-on part and still get an education, and then it would help me with my driving. And it certainly did all those things.

But I was a shop engineer, and when I first started at Ganassi, it was still when NASCAR allowed open testing. So you were gone all the time at the racetrack so it still felt a little more hands-on. And once that went away, it was a big transition to CAD modeling and stimulator work and much more computer-intense, and that really wasn’t the part of it that I enjoyed.

I missed the people, getting out and talking to everybody, and the business side of the sport had always interested me. So just through some of the connections I had met from being in the sport and working in it, it was actually a pretty easy transition over (to marketing and PR), believe it or not.

What’s something that people might not realize when they’re seeing your tweets? What’s something they don’t realize about what goes into your job from afar that you have discovered since you got it?

If it takes us awhile to tweet after something happens (on the track), we have to make sure that what we’re putting out there is exactly right — because I know that’s gonna get picked up by people. So if we think something happened to the car and that’s why we’re coming to pit road, well I need to make 100% sure that after they’ve looked at it, that’s what the answer is before I send something out.

So if it seems like it’s a delay, it’s not because we hate it or we’re distracted and just didn’t feel like giving out updates — we were just making sure what happened.

And if you’re making a trip to the care center, you’re not worried about Twitter. Your primary job is to get to the car and get to the driver, get over to the care center and make sure everything’s good from that standpoint before you even switch back over to Twitter.

I would say I mainly tweet during the weekends, so I think people forget maybe how much work mainly goes into the weekend before we ever get here. Really, once we get to the weekend, that’s the easier part of our job. All of the intense planning happens back at the shop before we ever get here.

That’s so interesting, because there’s an entire job where someone could be a social media manager, but that’s just one element of your job. You’re with Dale everywhere he’s going, and you have to get him from place to place to place for all of these appearances. What percent of your job would you say is social media compared to the whole picture?

I’d say for my job, it’s maybe five percent. It’s not something that I spend any time thinking about. When we’re here on the race weekend, I’ll update, but it’s more of a service that we try to provide to the fans than being important to the actual media relations part of our role, I guess.

And so really, if you think about it, the time that I’ve spent tweeting is so small compared to everything else, and especially the way our accounts are structured, anything that I would really want to push out from a PR standpoint is already being pushed out either by the Team Hendrick account in general or Dale himself or our sponsors. So it’s not like I have to have that platform to be able to get out what we’re doing from a PR sense.

So it really is kind of more of a, “Here’s what’s going on if you’re not here, and here’s an easy way to find what Dale’s doing.” But it’s not so much like the crux of what my job entails.

Social Spotlight with Jackson Martin of Roush Fenway Racing

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up this week: Jackson Martin, the Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager for Roush Fenway Racing.

Is it just you or is there a team of people you are a part of with the Roush Fenway social accounts?

We’ve got a couple different people who touch the accounts. It’s primarily me, but also my boss Kevin Woods, who is the Vice President of Communications at Roush Fenway. He’ll do a lot of on-track stuff too.

We’ve gotten a lot better this year about trading off weekends so you can get a little time at home, a little time away. We also have another woman, Amanda Efaw, who pitches in sometimes, too. So I’d say it’s mostly me, but there’s a lot of voices touching the accounts, too.

For some reason, I picture the Roush account as you guys coming up with really fun stuff together, like bouncing stuff of each other and then sharing it out. I just picture it as sort of this fun, collaborative effort because the stuff you come up with is very unique, very creative — and clearly some thought goes into it.

For the most part, yeah. Sometimes it’s a little off the cuff and we can get ourselves into trouble when we do that. But as a whole, the marketing arm of Roush Fenway has done this really cool thing the last couple of years where particularly when performance was not great, not where we wanted it to be, the marketing team basically took the concept of, “We want to also be the marketing agency for our sponsors.”

So most of the time you come in, you pay however much you do to be the paint scheme for the week and that’s what you get. You can make of it what you will, you can pay someone else to do that. And they said, “No, we need to offer something else to our sponsors.” So we really try to be that marketing team for you, and that’s already included in what you’re paying us and we try to make the most out of our sponsorship. So it’s not just on you: We look at what your goals are, but also we try and help you in how we know with the best practices.

And so sort of born out of that, we do do a couple of things a lot like a marketing agency might be and a lot of that involves us sitting around a room together, kicking around ideas. We draw up a whiteboard for every single week of just ideas, things that we can do, things that we can have fun with, wins that we have. Because I think outside of like two (tracks), we have wins at every single track on the NASCAR circuit in Xfinity and Cup.

So really it is. It’s such a collaborative effort between not just us, but also the communication managers, the PR people who are doing stuff for each individual team. In doing that, I think that’s how we get the most creativity, just sitting around kicking ideas back and forth.

It seems like your general philosophy is to have fun with the accounts. What messages are you trying to convey in general and how do you balance that with the competitive side of racing?

I think that’s interesting. They hired me as someone who really had no experience in NASCAR, and Kevin Woods has told me that part of that was getting some fresh eyes on the sport. I definitely brought that — I had no idea what I was doing. And so it just became let’s have fun, let’s give people a reason to follow us. Even if you’re not necessarily a fan of Roush Fenway, we want you to enjoy what we’re doing.

Some of that got born out of what I did when I was at Vanderbilt University. I was the sports editor for the Vanderbilt Hustler newspaper, and our football team was awful. Just so bad. They were 2-10 my freshman year. (The paper) made the mistake of giving me the Twitter account. And so we just go and have fun at games, you know. Maybe we were losing to Alabama by 40 points, but I was going to tell you what the band was playing, what the music was in the stadium — we’re gonna have some fun with what was going on.

And think that sort of fed into my philosophy here, which is that if you’re following us, you’re probably following Jeff Gluck, you’re following Jim Utter, you’re following the other media accounts. You have a pretty good general idea of what’s going on in the race, even if you’re just keeping up with Twitter.

So we need to be different; we need to give people a reason to follow us, a reason to enjoy what we’re doing — and fortunately the leadership at Roush Fenway bought into that. They give us a lot of creative freedom and hopefully I don’t abuse it too much, but it’s worked out great so far.

How do you know where the line is and do you ever cross the line and have to backtrack a little bit?

I’d like to think I have a lot of common sense. We haven’t pushed over the line very often, though there is one specific incident that I remember where I got in trouble with NASCAR corporate.

Two years ago in Michigan in August, they were running the high drag rules package and so they had to seal off the windows of the car in order to get the best aerodynamic advantage. Everyone was talking about it the whole weekend and it was blazingly hot, like 95 (degrees). NBC was running a thermostat in someone’s cockpit that showed that it was 165 degrees in the cockpit of the car.

I was actually at home that weekend — I was doing it from my couch — and I thought that was funny. So I found a picture of the FDA safe cooking temperatures chart. A chicken needs to be cooked to 155 degrees internally. I tweeted that out and said, “By some measures, our drivers are safe to eat right now.” And NASCAR got really upset about that and they wanted us to take it down. Kevin Woods was at the track and said, “We won’t do it again, but it’s got a lot of retweets. Can we just leave it up so it can show up on our social report?” “OK fine, but no more. Don’t talk about the heat anymore.”

That’s a great story. Speaking of fun, one thing especially about your Twitter account is you guys have really creative avatars, and you’re always coming up with the Jack Roush silhouette and doing something different with him. How do those get started? Do you give it to an artist? Who does that stuff?

So the Jack social logo that people have come to recognize was actually made by the guy who had my job before me, Yasin Id-Deen. He’s at the University of Michigan now. He’s a great guy who really, I think, set the table for me in so many ways. It was a fun logo and unlike a lot of corporate logos, you don’t take it too seriously because the social media guy made it.

I think the first one we ever did with that was when we were going to Texas, just sort of noticed, “Hey the Texas silhouette’s really recognizable, let’s stick the Jack head in it and try something new.” And we did, and it got this huge cool response. We didn’t do it for a couple of weeks and then we went to Talladega and Kevin Woods, my boss, is from Oxford, Alabama, so he made one with the Alabama outline. It sort of took off from there and then it became an every week thing.

So it’s either me or Kevin just playing around on Photoshop, finding something fun to do with it. It’s fun with weekends like (last weekend) when it’s a split weekend so we’ve got an ear of corn with the Jack logo for Iowa and then we’ve got the Sonoma road course outline. So you can do fun stuff. You can do state outlines, state flags — the Arizona flag looks great with the Jack logo in it. Or you can do the recognizable, like when we go to New Hampshire, we’ve got the lobster that we can stick it in.

And it’s just sort of a what else can we do creative to connect with these markets that we go to, because we go to 30 different places a year or however many different tracks it is. Let’s try and do something unique for all of them. We’re here all weekend, I’ve got my computer open, it’s a fun way to kill some time sometimes, trying to figure out what you can stick that logo in.

Any idea what Jack thinks of the logo or has he ever commented on it to you guys?

Normally all of our trackside apparel has the normal Roush Fenway logo, but I’ve started getting some stuff ordered with the social logo. I’m wearing a vest right now with it. Jack started laughing the first time he saw it. He said, “That’s pretty good.” So I think he likes it. I don’t know if he’s seen all of the different variations of it, but he definitely likes the original logo.

So you referred to Photoshop and it seems like you guys do tons of stuff whether it’s gifs or Photoshops. What is in your arsenal of tools as the social guy? If somebody wanted to get started on it, what things would they need to learn to get into a position like yours?

I think every team handles that a different way, and I think every person who’s in charge of these accounts handles it a different way. For me, I have always just liked to do as much stuff as I can possibly learn. When I was in high school, I worked on the newspaper, I did the radio show, I did a TV show — I just wanted to do everything. I wanted to learn how to do everything. I kept doing that in college and even here it’s just, “Do we need graphics? Sure, I’ll Photoshop it.” Do I not know how to do a specific thing? I’ll look it up. And so you do Adobe Premiere for video editing, you know, different stuff.

I think the best skill set you could have in this role, because it changes so much, is just the willingness to learn. Because all of this stuff, there’s a million different tutorials online, you can figure out how to do anything you wanna do if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work and a little bit of focus into it. So I think that’s the best thing you can have: Be willing to learn, willing to be flexible, be ready for some people who maybe don’t know how to do what you’re doing to want changes to it. Don’t take offense to that, but learn how to be able to do all of that stuff.

We focused a lot on Twitter, but you guys are active on a variety of platforms, if not all of the platforms that I can think of. How do you balance your time, your priorities, in figuring out what matters the most and where you need to pay attention to?

Like you said, every platform is so different, you have to treat them all differently; you can’t just go in with the same approach and just post the same thing on Facebook as on Twitter as on Instagram, but maybe you have to shorten the caption for Twitter. You just can’t do that.

We derive a lot of the value we get to sponsors. We actually have a social agency, Wasserman Media Group, who works with a lot of professional athletes, professional teams. They sort through all of our social and actually give us an evaluation on what we give back to the sponsors in terms of our posts. That ends up being a couple million dollars a year for a lot of them. Really, this stuff is valuable to them.

A lot of that value comes from Facebook. So for us, Facebook is a much more rigid process than the other ones. Like I said earlier, we do a whiteboard every week. A lot of that is lining up what’s gonna go what day on Facebook. Like this week, we have a bunch of Iowa and Sonoma wins, so it’s, “OK, what day is gonna be the best to post that video of Ricky Stenhouse when he wins at Iowa and Carl Edwards crashes into the back of him?” Because we know that’s our big video this week, that’s one people love to see because of the crazy finish. So that one might be a Thursday night for a Throwback Thursday or something like that.

You sort of flex it in within in but we’re trying to post two to four, two to five times a day on Facebook. But we have a lot of content, and trying to shoehorn in when everything fits where, that takes up a lot of brain space, a lot of planning just to get that right.

So we sort of follow the same type of structure on Twitter of doing Throwback Thursday, Winning Wednesday, but when you get to the track, a lot of your time is going to get eaten up by being at the track and that stuff. But you get to be a little more flexible.

A lot of times, I’ll think of a fun idea, Photoshop it or clip it out on Adobe Premiere, and it’ll just sort of go up whenever I get it done. You can also post stuff multiple times on Twitter. But so you get to have a lot more flexibility there, and I think that’s why we have so much fun with it, because you can throw something out and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t hurt you.

Whereas on Facebook, if you have a bad post, that hurts where you fit it in the algorithm for the next couple of days. You really have to have a really high quality filter on Facebook and Instagram.

Can you really tell when you look at your Facebook numbers and say, “We had a bad post and that really hurt us?” Can you see it in the numbers?

Absolutely. And I think you can tell when you don’t mix up your content enough. This is sort of more an anecdotal thing than an actual, but you can tell when you post like six videos in a row, you sort of start to have diminishing returns. And some of that is people aren’t as interested, but some of it is also you posted six videos in a row. So finding a way to mix that up, have a good mix of content of photos, videos, web links, entertaining stuff, serious stuff, I think that helps you a lot on Facebook to diversify what it is you’re doing.

You have a lot of fun with you replies and I can tell you take some joy in the interaction you have with other accounts. Is there any limit, like, “Make sure you don’t reply to this driver, he’s not on our team” or replying to another team? Or do you pretty much have free reign to interact with anybody in the sport?

I have pretty free reign. I sort of know what my limits are. Like I know that Hendrick takes their account very seriously: It’s very straightforward, very professional. They are not going to reply to us. They can’t. And I respect that because that’s what their style guide is: Very straightforward, very AP style, and I think there’s a lot of value to that.

That’s obviously not how we handle our account, but you know a little bit of the drivers who are willing to have a little more fun, the other accounts that have a little more fun. I miss Jeff O’Keefe, he used to run the (Richard Childress Racing) account. He’s now with Toyota Racing. We used to have a lot of fun with him, especially two years ago when both our teams were really struggling and we’d get into a trash talk war over a 15th place pass. We’d have so much fun with stuff like that. You can get into it with JGR — Boris has a lot of fun.

I tend to be a little more conservative with drivers, especially. But sometimes one of them comes along and jumps into our mentions with something fun. I think my favorite example of that was Landon Cassill. We’d do mid-race giveaways, like, “Retweet this to win this Greg Biffle hat.” Landon had like wrecked on Lap 5 or 6. He was out of the race for some reason, but it was a race that he had started in. He retweeted it, so we started to be goofy like, “Congratulations Landon Cassill, you won the Greg Biffle hat,” and then he turned around and say, “OK, if anyone can prove that they’re both a Landon Cassill and a Greg Biffle fan, I’ll donate my hat to you.”

So you have some fun, and we’ve done a lot with Landon. Landon’s a really good sport with some of the stuff that we’ve done. And it’s great because he’s another Ford driver, he’s with Front Row who we have that alliance with. So you feel a little more comfortable making those jokes with him, because he’s on the team, really.

But there are other guys who will have a lot of fun, too, particularly some of the lower series guys I think who might not have had their professional media training just yet. They’re willing to have a lot of fun with us.

Let’s talk about how you got into it. You mentioned you were at Vanderbilt and you didn’t have a background in the sport. People are always asking about how to get into the sport. How did you get into it?

I applied for this job on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn!

I was about a year out of school. I was still living in Nashville. I was working for a small digital marketing company in Nashville, and I wanted to do something else. I’d gone to school to be a sports writer. I had a sports writing scholarship at Vanderbilt, and I wanted to skip that step where they pay you $15,000 a year to cover high school football. Obviously I never figured out how to do that.

So I was working for a marketing company and just started firing off different applications to places. It did crack me up, actually — the day I applied to Roush I had also applied to a job at WWE, and I came back and told my roommate and his girlfriend, and my roommate’s girlfriend — she’s from New Jersey, just wanted to clarify that first — she looks at me and goes, “I thought you wanted to work in real sports.” It’s like, “Oh, Cristina…”

But yeah, I applied to this job on LinkedIn, heard back a month later, did a phone interview on the Thursday of the Phoenix race week, then was asked to come in for an interview, drove down to Atlanta where I’m from and where my parents live and drove up to Charlotte the next Tuesday. I interviewed, then the Thursday after that I got offered the job and I started for spring Bristol two years ago.

So within a month, I went from applying to being the new social guy at Roush. It was incredible. I was so fortunate. It’s not necessarily a strategy I would recommend to everyone, it doesn’t always pan out, but I got super lucky. I have the best job in the world. It’s so much fun.

What else would you tell people about your job, because everyone sees the end results of your job, right? But they don’t really get to see everything that goes into it. What else is something that people don’t really understand about all that goes into the social media world from a team perspective?

That’s something that my boss laughed about too when I applied for the job on LinkedIn, they probably got 200 or 300 other applications and a lot of it was probably, “I’ve got a Facebook account, I know what to do.” And you do get a lot of that too. I don’t think people realize that it is a job. There’s a ton of planning that goes into it. You can’t just show up and just, “Oh what are we going to do today? Same thing we do every night, Pinky — try and take over the world.”

Yeah, you don’t just show up at the track: you work in the office five days a week too, 8 to 5. And there’s a ton of planning that goes in but there’s you’re also talking with sponsors, you’re talking with the drivers, you’re trying to balance the interests of everyone who’s putting their time, effort, their money into this team, into this program. I would say a lot of working with sponsors, not just to accommodate what they think they want but to also help them see how we can best deliver these results to you.

I think because a lot of people have their own personal social media accounts, that’s what they think about it: “Oh yeah, I can post four times a day. That’s not a problem.” Well social media’s also rooted in traditional marketing strategy, and I think you really do have to have a grasp of what the things are that work in marketing to understand what works on social, too. Because obviously the landscape has changed a ton, but the more things change, the more things stay the same.

I think having that grounding in marketing pays incredible dividends in this job. Being able to be creative is a nice bonus to it, but in order to meet the needs of these sponsors who are paying millions of dollars to have their name associated with your team, to be able to be the public face of this team and especially to be working under such a legendary owner like Jack who’s won 324 races in NASCAR — he’s been winning NASCAR races since before I was born — that’s a big role to step into. And it’s one that you have to appreciate the levity of, I think, if you’re going to do a good job.

I’m curious, as somebody who didn’t grow up in the sport and now are in it and part of a team, what was that experience like for you at Talladega? You were going to victory lane and being part of the celebration, but obviously still balancing having to do your job in a very high-pressure moment.

Man, that was so cool. Like I said, I’ve been with the team two years, so that was the first Cup win that we’ve had since I’ve been there, and we had won two Xfinity races before: Chris Buescher at Iowa and Chris Buescher at Dover in 2015. And of course we had the Xfinity championship. Thank God at least I know a little about how victory lane worked because otherwise, man, that’s a lot that you have to get done right away.

Especially at a plate track like that, and you have a close finish like that, there’s a lot going through your head. Your heart’s beating out of your chest at a place like that. I had stopped chewing my fingernails. It’s something that I’ve struggled with my whole life. And now I’d gone two months totally clean, and that race I chewed them all down to the nubs.

But a lot of that planning that you put in, we have an entire win plan written out, like half a book worth of stuff that we’re going to do from a PR side, from a social side, from a sponsor relations side. When we win a race, we have a plan for what’s going to happen.

Like any good plan, about 20 to 30 percent of it is not going to happen at all, so you’re running around trying to balance (what can get done). I hate to jinx stuff, but you have a tweet written out for when they cross the line, which in our case was just #ParkedIt because of Ricky’s best friend Bryan Clauson and how much that meant to him.

So I hit send on that and then you’re sprinting out because you’re trying to catch a video of the burnout, or a video of the crew celebrating at the pit box. So you’ve got about 20 different things that you want to get done, so you gotta do that. Then you’ve got to run to Victory Lane where probably your cell phone’s barely going to work and you’re going to drain 80 percent of the battery in 20 minutes anyway because you’re trying to decide, “Do I do a Facebook Live, do I do a Periscope? Well if I’m doing a Facebook Live I can’t tweet too. Kevin, I need to you tweet something. I need someone else to put something on Instagram.” So you’re trying to grab all hands on deck, anyone who has access to the stuff, and do as many things as possible.

So actually, Kevin was doing the Facebook Live there so I could tweet. His phone locked up, like completely locked up, we lost the feed, so we had to grab an account manager — a guy who works with Trevor’s account — we had to grab his phone, log in. So I’m tweeting from my phone, there’s no cell phone reception, so I’m passing him my phone so he can run into the media center and get this stuff out while I take more pictures. Man, it is just such chaos. But it’s fun.

And what you come to realize too is you have this plan for what’s going to work, but it really is just so in the moment. Things change so fast. That’s what you learn too from watching other sports, other accounts.

I take a lot of my cues from NBA teams. I think that NBA does the absolute best job of social media in sports in the whole world. Actually, cricket does a good job too, but I don’t know if people are going to be that interested in listening to me talk about the West Indies cricket team twitter account. But the NBA does such a good job, especially the Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Hornets — they have these great, creative people, and so you can see what works for them there and sort of apply it to what you do.

So I think at Talladega, we had such an emotional response on our accounts, such an excited one. It was probably a little over the top, but you sorta take that from watching other teams who do that and you realize, “Wow.” Maybe when you’re trying to sit down at a whiteboard and plan out what you’re going to do, you think of the most professional way to handle it, the most straightforward way. But then you watch some other teams do something and you go, “Sometimes people want emotion.”

Because if you try to put yourself in the seat of the fans of Roush, that’s how they felt. That’s the first time we’ve been in victory lane in three years. That’s what these people have been waiting for. People who are Ricky Stenhouse fans have never seen him in Cup victory lane. You’ve got to put yourself in their shoes because that’s what it’s all about. That’s who you’re marketing yourself to.

Social Spotlight with Sydnee Fryer

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to provide some insight on their social media usage. Up this week: Sydnee Fryer, an SI Kids Reporter who recently covered the Indy 500 and the daughter of Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer. I asked Sydnee to help explain how young teens view social media.

Just for background, can you tell people how old you are and where you are in school right now?

I’m 13 and I’m in seventh grade right now.

Obviously, social media is a big part of any seventh grader’s life and I know you’re active in it and are on several platforms. First of all, can you rank the platforms that you use in order from the ones you enjoy the most to the least?

So I only use three: I’m on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram. It’s probably a tie between using Snapchat and Instagram most because I communicate through Snapchat, but I look at Instagram the most. And then I’m on Twitter a lot; I tweet a lot, so I’m probably most active on Twitter, but I don’t use it as much for other things.

So Facebook is completely out. You guys don’t Facebook at all. Do any of your friends use it? 

I know one of my friends uses it to stalk family members, but that’s it.

Why don’t you use Facebook?

I just never did it. I just never built a profile. Like I know my mom is on it, but I never got around to it because I know all my friends were getting on Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter before I was, and just no one was on Facebook, so I never got on Facebook.

Let’s start with Snapchat since you said that’s the one you enjoy the most. You said you communicate with your friends through that. Do you snap people in place of texting altogether?

Yes. Most of the time when it’s just my friends and I having a private conversation, it’s that. We have group chats on text because not everyone has Snapchat, but the majority of the time it’s over Snapchat.

What percent of your friends do you think use Snapchat?

Eighty to 85. Because we’re only 13, some of us can’t have it or don’t have phones — but everyone who has a phone has it.

That’s interesting. And so Instagram, do you use it just for your own posts or do you send messages through that as well?

Yeah, we send direct messages. My friends and I have a group chat and we’ll send each other things that we think are funny or (about) people from our school doing something, and then I obviously post myself and look at other people’s posts.

What percent of your friends do you think use Instagram?

Less than Snapchat. Probably about 60 or 70.

And then as far as Twitter, what do you use that for? Are you basically looking at stuff, are you posting updates for your friends?

So none of my friends are really on Twitter; I have one friend that uses Twitter. None of my friends are into sports like I am, so that’s what I use to talk about sports. So most of my Twitter is just me talking about sports, what I think about this basketball game going on — because none of my friends look at it, so none of my friends know what I’m talking about.

So you’re saying maybe less than 10 percent of your friends have Twitter?

Yeah. Like no one uses Twitter. I love Twitter and I know that a lot of young people do, but none of the people I know really do it.

So how do your friends get information if they’re only basically on Snapchat and Instagram?

Either I’ll tell them (or) they’ll get it late, so they don’t see it as soon as I do. But now Snapchat and Instagram are kind of upping their game, I would say. Snapchat now has their news stories and everything, and then Instagram has their constant postings. And if you follow news sites, you can get it pretty easily. It’s just not as rapid as Twitter and there’s not as many people talking about it.

So those stories that pop up on Snapchat like the daily Stories from the different outlets, people use those as news sources. That’s how they’re getting their information.

Yes, absolutely. There’s certain political sites that my friends look at to find out what’s going on or I’ll tell them or I’ll say something about it. One way or another, they’ll see it through the internet or something like that.

So let’s say people are growing up this way and not even consuming Twitter or Facebook, which is where most journalists are posting their stories. When I post my stories, I put tweet them and put them on Facebook and that’s it. So what’s the best way to reach people in your age group for people like myself or even companies and marketers?

That’s hard, because I don’t know a lot of my friends … read news articles and stuff like that. There’s things like “I put my link in my bio,” because you can’t put links in through Instagram, so put links in your bio. They can promote it like that, take a couple of days to post things about it to promote it.

A lot of times, it’s just the first thing that comes up when people look up what they want to. Like if you type in a couple of key words in Google, the first article they see is the one they’re going to click, so that’s part of it.

But really through social media — my friends don’t really read articles. I obviously read  articles because I’m on Twitter and I follow a lot of journalists, but I don’t know if my friends do.

How much live video do you guys consume? We hear a lot about Periscope, Facebook Live, even Instagram Live Stories, and then obviously people are super into YouTube. How much video do you feel you and your friends watch?

YouTube — a lot. A lot of YouTube vloggers and stuff like that. Instagram Live is big — we watch a lot of comedians we like or athletes we like on that.

I watch a lot of Periscope because there are a lot of sports journalists that have shows on Periscope that air at a certain time and I watch those.

I don’t know so much about Facebook Live or anything about that because no one is on Facebook, but definitely a lot of YouTube and a lot of Instagram Live.

In general, there’s a war going on somewhat between Instagram and their Stories and Snapchat Stories. What do you and your friends prefer in general?

Snapchat Stories, because it’s what everybody has been doing. I’ve noticed that the people who use Instagram Stories the most are adults who don’t have Snapchat because it never reached them. So if we’re gonna post something on our story, we’re gonna post it on Snapchat because it’s easier.

Even though I’m private on Instagram and nobody can see my story unless I let them follow me, I get to pick and choose who I can select to not show my story to (on Snapchat). So it comes easier like that and it’s like muscle memory; you just click Snapchat and take the first video you see.

That’s interesting, because I think people are trying to get on the Instagram Stories bandwagon — but that might not be a very good move if they’re trying to reach younger people, because younger people are sticking with Snapchat. They’re loyal to Snapchat and it seems like they’re probably not going anywhere.

No, I’m definitely not (going anywhere). I love Snapchat. I love the Stories, I love the geo-filters and stuff you can add to Stories.

Instagram Stories are OK. I’ll watch a few, but I follow over 500 people. Obviously, 500 people aren’t posting on their Instagram Stories, but it’s over 100 or 200 people, so I don’t watch all of them because I only see the top in my bar (above the feed). I think it’s the five most-searched profiles you look at, so I’ll see athletes’ stories that I watch, but I don’t really see anyone else’s. 

One thing that would kind of weird me out about not being on Twitter or Facebook is both are somewhat of a history of what I’ve said or what’s gone on in my life. Snapchat is temporary. I guess your Instagram posts remain in some ways, but they’re not really lifetime achievements or “This is what happened to me on this day.” Are you and your friends not really concerned in general about keeping a log of your life? You don’t mind that it’s erased?

Well Snapchat has their new Memories thing, which I save everything to pretty much — like every picture I take on Snapchat and every video — which is a good log.

And then there’s Timehop, which sends you things from Instagram and sends you things from your camera roll and my Twitter. My friends who are not on Twitter, I don’t think they’re concerned with that because they don’t really post.

I post a lot, but I don’t think a lot of my friends do. They have 20 to 30 posts on Instagram, which isn’t really that much, so I don’t think they’re really concerned on showing everyone what they’re doing.

Do they go back and delete less popular posts on Instagram if they’re like, “This didn’t get a ton of likes, so I’m just going to delete this like it never really happened?”

Absolutely. I do that too. Like if I see a post I don’t like anymore or like a selfie I posted that I don’t really like anymore or I don’t think I look good in it anymore, I’ll just delete it really fast. A couple of my friends only have like 11 posts — the bare minimum, so people know that they’re active on Instagram — delete stuff all the time. They just have a schedule, and they delete their very first post and then post something new just to make a cycle of it and show that they’re active.

Why do you think there’s a disconnect between what adults use and what younger people use? My friends are very Twitter heavy, there’s also a lot of Facebook and Instagram, and then Snapchat for people my age (36) comes in fourth. I love Snapchat, but I don’t get the sense that a ton of people are on it. It’s such a younger people thing. You would think if that is the most popular forum, more and more people would go to it — but there’s such a divide. Do you have a theory on why that is?

It’s in order of when they came out, I think. Facebook and Twitter came around at the same time in the 2002 to 2004 area, and then Instagram and Snapchat didn’t come out until 2012 to 2014 when were starting to get phones, starting to get into social media.

And there’s social media trends I’ve noticed, too. I think adults tend to post a lot — like my mom even posts a lot, and we don’t do that, like I talked about a little bit ago.

Then a new trend that’s going around is that teenagers will have second profiles that are completely private — not under their name, doesn’t say anything about them in the bio — and they’ll post spam and do whatever they want on it and they’ll block their parents and stuff so nobody can really see what they’re doing. It’s called a “finsta,” a “fake Instagram” or a “spam.”

So with your finsta, are you just doing it to just to post whatever you want and only a couple of people know? How does that work?

I don’t do anything bad on my finsta, like I don’t have anything bad to post. Really it’s just screenshots of my Twitter or my fantasy football thing and like me complaining about fantasy football. It’s just so my friends can see it and it’s just so that I have a bigger way of reaching kids at my school and posting things. We’ll do photo challenges, like a May photo challenge where on Day 24, you post the highlight of your day just so your friends can see the highlight of your day without everyone becoming annoyed with you.

So how do you spread the word about your second profile to your friends? Are you just like, “Hey, follow me on here, this is my second thing?”

You just find it. My friends have one, so I’ll go through people that they follow, I’ll follow them. People will follow back. And if you can’t find me, then you can’t find me.

Any final thoughts on where the direction of social media is going in the future? It sounds like from what I’m gathering in this conversation that teens are getting more withdrawn, more private. They’re using social media, but they don’t want to broadcast everything out. It’s not a huge public thing where it’s going to be exposed to everybody; they want to use it just for their core group. Is that basically correct?

Yes, most of the time, unless people have their profiles public and they’ll let people from their school see it. But if I don’t really know you, then I don’t feel the need for you to see the stuff I post — because I post with my location on, you see where I am, you see what I’m doing, the people I hang out with, my mom. So if I don’t know you directly or if I haven’t really interacted with you, then I’ll probably (not share).

On Twitter, it’s a different story because it’s not my face, it’s just my opinions and what’s going on. But on Instagram and Snapchat, it’s a completely different story because it’s what I’m doing and I don’t think that it’s necessary to be publicly broadcasting that.

Is it that you don’t want to be judged?

Sure. Yeah, I don’t want to be judged. But it’s a safety thing. Like things stay on the internet forever whether you delete them or not — so you gotta be careful with stuff like that.

Social Spotlight with Brad Keselowski

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to explain how they use social media. This week: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske. The interview is available both in podcast and written form.

I’m here in Brad Keselowski’s hauler, and he’s currently making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which looks quite tasty. He’s got some strawberry jam.

I was in a grape family. Do you know how I rebelled? I switched to strawberry. Everybody rebels in their own ways.

You’ve always been a rebel, going strawberry after everybody else is going grape. But Brad, you were credited with sort of being the head of the Twitter movement in NASCAR thanks to your Daytona picture. But I think it’s sort of evolved for you. How has your Twitter usage has changed in the past few years here?

It’s definitely changed and I think your first comment about the Daytona 500 tweet, that was fun. I got some exposure for NASCAR and for Twitter too, which was great. But I just feel like that was one piece. There’s been like six or seven people, maybe more than that, who have moved it forward. You moved it forward, Jeff. I think Nascarcasm moved it forward. Dale Jr. joined and moved it forward. Kevin Harvick to me was the one who was really the first driver to embrace it of stature, so he moved it forward. I think we all had a piece of moving it forward, and I probably get a little more credit than I deserve. That’s probably my first thought.

I really don’t think so, actually. The way you were at that time as well as in addition to the tweet itself kind of opened the floodgates because you were very opinionated. Maybe you’ve gotten a little bit more…

I’m more conservative for sure. Definitely more conservative. I don’t know, it’s probably a part of being married.

But I think what happens, and this has happened for myself as well over the years with writing my opinions, is you get sort of tired of fighting certain battles. After a while you choose to not fight every single battle and let your whole opinion out there, and you just pick the ones that are the most important to you. Is that fair to say?

That’s absolutely fair to say. That’s well-played, Jeff. I couldn’t say it any better. You get to where you pick the battles that are going to be the most impactful and that you can win; you don’t try to fight every battle. I think that’s just part of getting older, not necessarily just social media.

What’s interesting is the people that have really developed social media are aging, and I think it’s changing the platform dramatically.

How is that? You mean the users themselves are changing their habits?

Yeah, I think so. I think probably your core people that really started the social media, and I’m not trying to claim to be one of them, but they’re getting older and I think that changes how the platform works.

And I don’t know how you are — we talked about rebelling with strawberry jelly — but young kids don’t want to be a part of what their parents did because that becomes uncool. So I’m curious where social media goes in that light.

I feel like a lot of people choose the platform they like and end up sticking with it and aren’t really eager to change. Some people will try the newer platforms that come out, but people will mostly just stick with what’s comfortable for them — whether it’s the most popular or not. I know over the years, you had started originally with a Facebook account and then you sort of went away from that?

I got mad at them.

That’s right, you got mad at Facebook.

They deleted my account because somebody turned me in as fake and I had a Facebook account for probably four years before that. I had all this really cool stuff and they just deleted it all. It just pissed me off.

I forgot about that. So now you’re on Twitter, obviously, and you’re on Instagram but it’s a private account. Is that correct?

Yeah, private. That’s per (wife) Paige’s request.

That’s where you can sort of have your own life without being in the public eye, so to speak.

Yeah, well sometimes I want to take a picture, and it ain’t gonna be the best picture or it’s gonna be a picture that’s relevant to me and not to my fans, but it’s relevant to my family. And that’s OK. I feel like I needed at least one social media play that was personal and for my family. So if I want to share 15 pictures of my daughter or a picture of a sunset or I wanna be somewhere and I don’t want people to know I’m there, that’s my platform to do it.

That’s interesting, because you’re using it sort of like Facebook, but you hate Facebook. So you’re using Instagram like Facebook.

I don’t necessarily hate Facebook. Hey, part of getting older is forgiveness. I’ve forgiven Facebook; that’s the easiest way for me to put it. I was frustrated at a younger age. Now I’ve moved on and I really like the Facebook Live feature.

That’s true, I forgot about that. And that’s something I wanted to ask you about in this interview as well, so let’s get into that because starting this year, I believe at Daytona, you started going around to some of the campgrounds at times and going on Facebook Live —

I’m pretty sure I did it somewhere last year. Watkins Glen. Yup, I did it at Watkins Glen last year. There are certain weekends where I don’t bring my daughter and there could be a number of reasons between where we’re at. I don’t travel my daughter past the Mississippi (River) — that’s a good rule of thumb because that’s too much for her and I don’t want her to deal with all that.

And Watkins Glen, I can’t remember why we didn’t bring her because that’s not past the Mississippi, but we didn’t bring her there. So Paige and I were on the bus, we just had our dinner and we got back and it was 9 o’clock and it was a beautiful night. I’ve always really liked the campgrounds at Watkins Glen and she had never seen them so I was like, “Hey, let’s go through the campgrounds.”

But what are we going to do when we go through the campgrounds — somebody’s always gonna spot you, right? (I said) “I don’t know, let’s give something away, I guess.” And somebody had been telling me about Facebook Live and said it’s a lot of fun, so it was like, “Well, I’ve wanted to do this Facebook Live, I’ve got a bunch of beer, a bunch of stuff to give away. Let’s see what happens.” So we did it. We had fun, the people were really cool, they were engaging, and that was just a good time.

So Daytona ended up being the same way: my daughter didn’t come because I just got married the week before and she stayed with Paige’s parents, so it was just us two. It turned into the same scenario and we had a lot of fun. Like, “Maybe we’ve got something here that’s kind of ours,” you know?

I think on social media, everybody looks for something that’s theirs. You know, Jimmie (Johnson) does the hat giveaway and everybody does something that’s theirs, and I really like the Facebook Live campgrounds because it was something that was mine and I could do that to honor our fans.

I’ve watched a lot of these, and some people are very happy and overjoyed that you come. Some people play it way too chill. I don’t understand why they would be so chill about a NASCAR driver coming with gifts to their campgrounds! They should be going crazy and they’re like, “Oh yeah, hey. Cool. It’s nice to see you.”

You know alcohol affects people in different ways, and a lot of these I go to –everybody knows a quiet drunk. Everybody knows a loud drunk. And usually we find people after they’ve been drinking, so that’s my explanation. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. I’m not a doctor.

Obviously, Facebook Live stays on your Facebook page; it’s not like Instagram Live Stories, which go away right away. So that’s something that people can go back and check it out as well.

I do like that feature about Facebook, how it stays up there and you can do the “in case you missed it,” which I think is very helpful because you’re right, you don’t want it to disappear. And those people, that story lives on with them forever, right? Which is great, that’s one of the things I love about it so much.

I’ve already had fans come up to me and say, “Hey man, you came up to my campground in Daytona. We’re here in Dover and that was really cool and I just wanted to say hi again.” It’s really endearing to me and it’s fun. It really is.

One platform that I don’t think you’re on, as far as I know, is Snapchat. Why are you not high on Snapchat?

Mmm (pausing to chew sandwich).

I’ll let you finish your food. By the way, this looks like a fantastic sandwich that you’ve made here, and you’ve also gone with a selection of milk. So you got the wholesome peanut butter and jelly with the strawberry, the chunky peanut butter and the milk.

Chunky peanut butter is important because I think it has more protein. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I made it up on the spot because it says, “More protein” (on the label).

So why not Snapchat? That’s the question. I’ve never really taken to it. First off, you don’t know who’s watching. I don’t like that. I like to know who watches my stuff, I like to get number reports, I like the data. Second, I don’t like how it disappears. For the same reasons why I like Facebook Live, I like how I can post a story and it lives on forever. For Snapchat, it lives on for what, a day?

Yeah, 24 hours.

I don’t like that. Instagram Stories, Paige does that with my daughter. I like for my daughter that it lives 24 hours, but then even then I’ll look back like, “Ugh, where did that video go of her doing this or that?” She’s like, “Well, I have it on my phone saved.” Of course Snapchat videos don’t save to your phone at least. I don’t know if they do it, how to do it.

You just have to manually do it.

See, I don’t like that part. So I’ve never taken to it. I hear the numbers are incredible for those who are able to get access to it, but I don’t know, it’s just not for me.

Not only that, but I’m a big believer in laser focus: Pick something and stick to it and do it the best you can. And for me, that’s Twitter and Facebook Live.

So let’s go back to Twitter for a minute. You’re famously often on your phone. There’s many pictures of you, whether you’re at a press conference or waiting for a change in the garage, where you’re looking at your phone. Are you typically looking at Twitter in those situations?

No.

No? OK.

I wish I had my phone right now to show you, but I don’t. It’s locked upstairs. But I would show you, I have a number of apps that I use. I have racing apps, which could be timing and scoring. I have engineering apps for the car so I can understand what’s going on with the car. So I have a lot of different apps and tools that I look at. And then I have, of course, social media apps that I go on.

People automatically assume whenever I’m on my phone that I’m on Twitter, and it’s kind of funny to me. Like, “Yeah, yeah, you’re right.” But I try to keep a number of apps. My phone is my connectivity device for not just social media, but also for my profession.

Obviously you’re still looking at it a lot, whether you’re on it every second or not. What do you get from Twitter? What are you taking out of it that you find most valuable and makes you want to stay on it?

Without a doubt, news. I read the news. You were at USA Today. Before social media, I read USA Today everyday. Every single day. And I would always get disappointed when there were days and news where there wasn’t a lot to read. And there’s still days on social media that are that way, but I can always find myself falling into a hole, or I’ll find somebody like, “This guy is talking about topics that I knew nothing about.”

If you watched my Facebook Live last night, we did one here through Wurth’s Facebook Live account, we were talking about the Paris Climate Agreement. That kind of stuff — I can’t find in-depth reporting about that stuff in most newspapers, so I’ll find somebody who’s an expert on the field and they’ll have an entire thread of, “Here’s what’s good, here’s what’s bad” — and of course they have their own biases in there — but I love reading those and I’ve fallen in those Twitter holes a lot.

The other side of that is people wanting to interact with you in your replies. Typically, how many of your replies do you read? Do you try and go through all of them, and what kind of interaction do you have with your fans?

One of the things I would say is any of the times where you want to see a reply, you can’t, which is a real bummer. Like when you won a race, you’re like, “Man, I really want to see what people are saying,” and people are saying nice things to you and you want to read it… I’m not able to do it because it doesn’t load them all. It only loads 30 or 40 of them, which is super frustrating because you missed out on all of that and I always feel bad about it. It’s such a bummer. So I would say first off, I would want to say thank you those people who write the stuff even though I don’t always get to see it.

(Editor’s note: Keselowski is referring to the standard Twitter app, which only loads up selected tweets and replies. Personally, I recommend using Tweetbot to avoid this problem).

And then most times, it’s the exact opposite — the times you can see the replies are when you really don’t want to, like if it’s a slow news week or something bad has happened and you’re like, “Argh, I don’t want to read this.” But for the most part, I try to read every one of them when I can, even when it’s bad.

When it comes to dealing with the bad, there’s three ways you could do it: You can ignore, block or mute. Which one do you typically choose?

I used to block. I stopped blocking. I regret that I blocked. If there was a function that showed who you’ve blocked in your life, I wish I could go back and unblock those people.

I think there actually might be. You may want to look into that.

Huh, I didn’t know that. OK. So someone’s gonna have to teach me that.

So I would say, I’m a big believer now, as just a theory in life, in truth and grace. I wrote a blog about it, I spent a lot of time studying it, that’s my new channel. So when it comes to replying, I believe in truth and grace. And if I have truth, I think that it’s worth writing someone, but only if it has grace. And the two are important because one can’t exist without another. Truth dies on a vine without grace, and grace doesn’t exist without truth. It’s really a simple principle, and I try to carry that over in all aspects of my life, including social media.

Any final thoughts on your general theory about social media or something you want people to know that I didn’t ask about?

First off, I’m honored that anyone thinks I’m interesting enough to follow. And I feel like sometimes, I have some stuff that’s worth saying and other times not so much. I get writer’s block, like anyone else, where I’ll feel like I might go a month and not have anything cool to say and then I might have two weeks of this, this, this and this.

So there’s some ups and downs. It’s just the way it’s gonna be. But I appreciate those who follow. I do all my own social media with respect to Twitter. I do have a little bit of help with Facebook, not the Live part, but the posts and so forth. But I try to be authentic, I try to have fun. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m doing the best I can and I appreciate that people follow.