Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. This week: Ryan Truex, who drives for Hattori Racing Enterprises in the Camping World Truck Series.
I see you’re on most of the forms of social media that exist. Can you rank them from your favorite to least favorite?
It changes weekly depending on how things go. I like Instagram because I don’t get a lot of rude comments on there when I post stuff, and usually the stuff people say to me is nice. I’d say Instagram and Twitter switch back and forth between first for me, and those are the two I use the most.
I honestly don’t post that much on Twitter. I use it more to kind of just talk to people and kind of annoy my friends and say dumb stuff to them — like people like Landon Cassill. On Instagram, I feel like people are nicer. It’s definitely between those two.
I used to use Snapchat a lot. Honestly, I kind of just forget about it now. I don’t get on as much. Facebook, I’d say I probably use the least. I barely ever post on there. Honestly, I just forget. Twitter and Instagram are just so much easier to jump on it, kind of jump into a conversation, kind of push whatever you want to push.
— Ryan Truex (@Ryan_Truex) October 12, 2017
That’s weird though, because you say that you’re on Snapchat, you use Snapchat a lot to look at other people’s feeds, but you don’t think to post your own content there?
I don’t like to say stuff just to say stuff. I don’t tweet just to tweet, you know? If I want to say something, I want it to be something good that I can get across properly.
I really just like to respond to people and annoy people. That’s the most fun. I’m a very sarcastic guy — I don’t know if you realize that — so I try to make sure that I portray that properly on Twitter. A lot of people just think I’m an ass sometimes. (Laughs) My friends think that, too. Honestly, that’s probably their number one opinion of me. But that’s just how I am.
I love Twitter because I can just jump into any conversation if I want to. I think that’s the best part about it, that you can be a part of any conversation you want and really get your opinion out there, which I don’t do that very often because usually I get a lot of crap for it.
So your friends’ number one opinion of you is that you’re an ass. Is that really true?
That’s not sarcasm.
I don’t know, maybe it is.
Why do you think people are nicer on Instagram than on Twitter?
I don’t know. I guess because Instagram, your profile is just pictures of you going about your daily life. It’s not so much you just having 140 characters to say something about somebody or tweet at somebody or respond at somebody with something negative. I mean, (Instagram) comments are negative sometimes, but usually those guys aren’t following you if they don’t like you. They’re not gonna actively search your Instagram page and go to a post and say, “You suck” or “You’re an idiot,” whatever.
But with the tweet, especially if you tweet your opinion about something or try and jump into a conversation, then you have 20 or 30 people jump in and tell you how dumb you are. But that’s all part of it. That’s the beauty of Twitter, everybody has a voice.
I don’t like the people that say stuff just to say stuff. If you can be funny about it, or you have a good point as to why you don’t like me or if I did something to you or something like that, then that’s fine. But if you say something just to say something or whatever, that’s when I get the itchy block finger. (Laughs)
I do notice that when you pick your spots to jump in, it’s usually like less than 10 words probably. Like you just drop a little comment in there, kind of just sneak in and shoot a little dart. Sometimes, like you said, it’s very sarcastic. Do you know that people are going to take it the wrong way? Are you trolling people a little bit?
Yeah, sometimes, but it’s never anything like too crazy, you know? I mean sometimes people take it the wrong way, but people that know me know how I am, know what I mean, and yeah, it’s never anything too serious. It’s not like I’m pushing anybody’s buttons the wrong way.
But yeah, I’m a man of few words. So that’s why when I do post or when I do tweet, I make sure it’s right, because it’s usually 10 words or less, and I’m a believer that less is more.
So you talked about the itchy block finger that you get sometimes. It sounds like you’re a blocker instead of a muter when somebody rubs you the wrong way?
Yeah. I used the mute feature a lot, and sometimes I’ll use it, say if there’s a sports event going on or something I don’t care about, a lot of people I follow are tweeting about it, I’ll mute them. Then sometimes I’ll forget (they were muted).
And then they’re lost forever in your feed.
Yeah, because when they tag you in stuff or mention you, you don’t see it. And I’ve probably hurt some feelings if I said everybody I’ve muted before. I forget a lot.
Honestly I block more people for talking about Martin (Truex Jr., his older brother) than anything, just because I don’t care to see it. I don’t care if they talk about me or say stuff about me, but I think it’s the ones, people that tweet that don’t understand or don’t really know what they’re talking about (who get blocked).
Life’s too short to clog your brain up with stuff that doesn’t matter like that. So if it’s something dumb or uncalled for, stuff like that, then yeah, I’ll block them because I have no need to ever see that person’s opinions anymore. It’s not gonna affect me positively, so I try to just block all that out. But like I said, if it’s funny and it makes me laugh — even though it’s mean — I can respect that.
So if you’re going to be mean, at least be funny about it.
Yeah, exactly. There’s plenty of accounts I haven’t blocked that constantly troll me. But that’s fine. Not everybody’s gonna like you. I don’t aim to please everybody. I know there’s people that aren’t gonna like me and that’s fine. There’s no need to try and please everybody, because then you’re not really your true self. So that’s my number one thing: I try to be myself, whether that’s me being quiet or staying out of something, or jumping in and being sarcastic. Whatever it is, I try not to stray away from my true self too much.
Do you find it funny at all when people troll you with the “Ryan Truex Jr.” type stuff, or are you just like, “Come on, guys.”
Speaking of that, I’m gonna show you this. So my “Go Ryan” shirts have been really good, and people really like them. And I’ve been trying to think, this whole “Ryan Truex Jr.” thing, how can I spin it that direction? So I came up with this shirt here.
New shirts ???? #notaJr
— Ryan Truex (@Ryan_Truex) October 28, 2017
This says “Ryan Truex Jr.” and has a red X through the “Jr.” This is going to be a big seller, I think.
I hope people like it. See, this is like the less is more approach to me. It’s the same with the “Go Ryan” shirts. There’s barely anything going on, and I feel like it’s to the point and gets the message across. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m all about.
Let’s talk about the “Go Ryan” shirts, because that’s something that did pretty well on social media. It got a lot of attention, it’s still getting a lot of attention. I mean, Dale Jr. wears the shirt. A lot of people tweet about buying them. Have you been surprised at that whole reaction?
Yeah, honestly, I really have. I came up with the idea last year. Originally, I had an 81 on it, and I kind of sat on it for a while. My girlfriend was the one who came up with the idea of me drawing something. She thought it would be original and nobody’s ever really done that, so I drew it up and I decided to just throw “Go Ryan” on the side because I thought it was corny, kinda funny.
I sat on it for a while, I sent it to a few friends and kind of just got opinions on it, and everybody loved it. So eventually I just went for it. Really, was the Junior retweet that got it viral. So thanks Dale, for sure. But him and Amy both, they got them and they started wearing them, and then everybody wanted one. Everybody wants to be like Junior, you know? He’s the guy.
Like I never asked him to tweet about it or anything. There’s times where he would respond to people’s tweets with him wearing the shirt and say like, “This is the most underrated shirt” and stuff. I’m like, “God, man!” Every time he (tweeted) it, it was already sold out, so I couldn’t even do anything with it. Yeah man, it’s been awesome, and it’s really cool.
Shirts underrated pic.twitter.com/fDvbtWk8Eg
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 16, 2017
My whole career, I’ve never had apparel aside from hats that I get made. I’ve never had a T-shirt before. I’ve always wanted to have them and I kind of didn’t have really anybody helping me do that kind of stuff, so I just had to do that on my own — and I can only do so much with my God-given artistic ability. (Laughs) So yeah, I built my website by myself and set everything up. And it’s kind of just a one-man show.
So it’s been really cool that people like it and have reacted positively to it. I still get surprised when I see people wearing them at the track, because it’s just crazy to me that I came up with the idea, put it on a shirt, put it on a website, shipped it out and people like it and show up with their support. So it’s been awesome and I hope this new shirt does just as well, because this one really gets a good message across that I’m not a “Jr.” (Laughs)
That’s very clear. So you also have this clothing company that’s you’re a big part of with Ryan Reed. I think it’s just you guys, right? STGR Supply. So do you use social media for those purposes as well? Do you operate any of those accounts or anything like that?
Yeah, I operate all of them. Honestly, I kind of don’t have time for everything. It’s tough. It’s nice running trucks because we get some off-time and it kind of works out perfectly for me to jump around. But that stuff, I haven’t been able to be as hands-on with it as I want to be. I mean, I’ve been hands-on through the whole process, but sometimes I get sidetracked. You can see sometimes on the social side, it gets behind.
Really, the biggest thing that’s helped is Martin wears the hat like every single weekend and I’ve never asked him to. I just gave him one and he loves it and wears it all the time — the camo one with the wrenches on the front. Like every single weekend, he’s got that thing on. So that’s the best exposure ever. I don’t have to do anything, he just wears it and it works.
That’s just something that me and Ryan started a year or two ago because we’re both kind of into fashion, and that’s something that’s definitely not at the forefront in the NASCAR world. So we kind of wanted to bring that side into racing a little bit. I know there’s a lot of guys out there like me, young guys that are into wearing cool clothes and looking good and love racing as well. I feel like that’s kind of an untapped market.
We honestly just do it for fun. I don’t really look at it as a way to make a lot of money or anything, it’s just kind of a way to express more of my creative side and my passion for clothing and that kind of stuff.
It’s been blowing up a lot more recently with Martin wearing it and people getting a lot more interested in it. So I’m trying to do a lot more with it behind the scenes to get it more professional, just get it out there more. I’m working on it, the offseason will be a good time to dive into it because right now with the schedule, we have three or four races in a row. So it’s kind of tough to juggle all of that as well as my merchandise stuff, too.
What do you enjoy most about being on social media? It’s clear that you’re a consumer of it, you’re probably on it several times a day. What do you get out of it that you value?
I think the interaction with people. For every bad comment you get, you get 30 or 40 good ones. A lot of times, you don’t get a chance to respond to every single one. I try to like tweets as much as I can so people know that I’m reading them. But it is appreciated and it does help. If you just read a good tweet or a good Instagram comment or on Facebook or whatever, if somebody says something nice and says you’re a good driver or “You deserve to be here,” that kind of stuff, that for me goes a long way, because it’s to the point and you know that’s their true thought. We’ve got 140 characters to get something across. When people can do that, you know they mean it, you know they’re sincere, it’s definitely a confidence booster — for me at least.
I’ve grown up in the social media age. I opened my Twitter account my first year in K&N when I was 16 years old. So it’s been a huge part of, honestly, my entire career — especially Twitter. That was really the first social media I was on aside from Facebook — but that wasn’t really a forum for athletes or anything; that was more of a MySpace-type thing back then.
And honestly, I get all my news from Twitter. I try to filter a lot of it because everyone tries to be first and you never know what’s right and what’s wrong, but at the same time you get a lot of good info. I get a lot of good stuff from you and ol’ Bob (Pockrass). He’s probably my number one follow because if I want to know what’s going on, or I want to know the schedule for the day, I don’t look for my schedule that’s hidden in my backpack somewhere, I just go to Bob’s account (@bobpockrass), because you know he’s got every practice time, what channel it’s gonna be on, if it’s on the app or on TV, what this driver said if this guy’s mad. You know everything. He’s like a robot, honestly.
He’s like a machine.
He really is — and no discredit to you or anyone else.
No, I don’t take offense to that at all.
Bob’s just — business is booming with Bob at all times.