Social Spotlight with NASCAR president Brent Dewar

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to share their thoughts on social media usage. This week: Brent Dewar, who was named NASCAR president on July 13 after previously serving as the company’s chief operating officer following a career a General Motors that lasted more than 30 years.

You’ve been on Twitter since 2009 — the early days of the platform. So I’m curious, what attracted you to want to get on Twitter in the first place, way back when it wasn’t as big as it is now?

I came on the marketing side of the automotives, and each of the social media platforms were developing. I liked Twitter because it was like an open email. I was intrigued that you had to get a message out in 140 characters or less. I found that very interesting.

As a marketer, you grew up with 60-second commercials, then it went to 30s, and I love 15s. If I could have done a seven-second commercial, I would have. So I like that aspect and kind of learned the dos and don’ts over time.

So even before society went to this shorter attention span thing, you thought that was something that people would pick up on?

I think it’s not so much shorter attention span — that’s one factor, there’s no question — but as a communicator, the less you say, (the) better and more poignant, because we as humans only retain so much. So I was always intrigued by it. I don’t think I always practice it as well as I want to in those 140 characters, but that’s the essence as a marketer.

As it’s evolved, how much do you use Twitter now, and how much value do you place on it in the role that you’re currently in?

Obviously we have a huge fanbase and they’re very active on all social media. I’ve had accounts through most of the major (forms of social media), and I’ve really focused on Twitter.

What we ask our team is to find your voice. So our voice for competition is Steve O’Donnell, and so we want to make sure he feels comfortable and has the authority to interact on the competition aspect with fans, with the industry and with just folks in general across the industry.

What my role is to play as chief operating officer and now as president, is to find my voice — and I don’t want to step on the competition side of the voice, I don’t want to step on the marketing and (chief marketing officer) Jill Gregory.

So I use it primarily as an amplification tool to the messaging in the industry. That’s been my role, my focus. You might get some business aspects from me because I do the business of NASCAR, but at the end of the day I’m a fan, and so I really approach it from a fan’s perspective.

That’s very interesting that you say that, because my next question was going to be about how you retweet a lot of people in NASCAR. So it sounds like that’s a strategic thing, where you’re taking little pieces from here, little pieces from there, and you’re saying, “Hey, I want to make sure people in the industry are seeing this message.”

Exactly, and that’s one of the big powers of social media, is that first message can cascade so much further. So it is a purely strategic intent; that is the role that I play. We teach that to many of our other executives as well, because if you can connect with the chain on a broader basis, the message goes much further. You can be a Dale Jr. and have four million followers, or you can be a connected part of the industry — and both are very effective in terms of amplifying the message.

Even though you don’t want to step on Steve O’Donnell’s toes, there has to be times where you say, “I really want to say this” or “I really have an opinion on this.” And because you want to stay in your lane, you have to hold off. Are there times where you have to stop yourself from expressing your own opinions?

Yes and no. I would say my lane is never the competition lane, even though I do it in my job. It’s not my social media role. And so I would never be intrigued to go on and do that.

There are times when I do want to say something, and it’s usually a direct message to the driver or a direct message to the industry person and it’s pretty effective as well. You and I have tweeted direct messages back and forth with each other. So I’ve used that mechanism, because at the end of the day, this is a sport, and sometimes people get lost in that. We’re a release for a lot of the things that go on in the world. Like all sports, it’s entertainment, and I just want to make sure that I stay within that and enjoy it at the same time.

You’re known as somebody’s who is very hard working; there’s a lot of hours that you put in and it sounds like you pour your soul into this job. How does the daily social media grind fit into your role? Are you able to see everything that happens on Twitter?

It’s a challenge. I think the expression is “time poverty.” We all suffer from it, so I’m a believer in technology. I always have been. I’m an early adopter. I think I was one of the first BlackBerry users; you don’t want to know what I paid for my first BlackBerry. It’s shocking. But I think we use technology to expand the hours of the day.

I’ve always been fortunate or unfortunate — depending on my mother’s point of view — that I never really slept too much, even as a kid. So I’m awake for the better part of the 24 hours of a day. So I use all these different tools, techniques from technology to get us there.

I try to make sure that I’m consuming the sport with 360 degree view. I’m definitely on Sirius/XM when I have my time for that on the drive. And the guys definitely know when I’m on, because I’ll usually pull off to the side of the road — I don’t text and drive — and I’ll send a couple of direct messages to them if I feel like I need to comment. And same with TV, same with digital, same with social media.

So they all have their place. I think the days of a single medium consuming your information, those days are gone. When I grew up as a kid, we had a big network broadcast and it was pretty easy to get your news. Everybody tuned in at the nightly news. That’s not the case today; it’s instantaneous, so you find your mechanism and platform to get your information and to also share information. So I try to balance it throughout the day.

I think we’ve all found social media can be a drain at times because of negativity. I’m sure I irritate you at times with my tweets where you’re like, “Oh, come on.” So my question is, why do you choose to be on Twitter with all the negativity goes on?

I would say this is the marketing researcher in me. I’ve always been intrigued in human behavior, and sports is the craziest experience of human behavior. So I think what you have to recognize is that sports fans are passionate. That’s where the word “fanatic” came from. Sports fans are 365/24/7.

I think what you have to recognize is that some of the callers, when you talk on a radio sports show, are a demographic unto themselves. And so usually you have to manage the filters and understand that it’s not absolute; it’s directional.

Same with social media: you can’t just read the good clips. You can’t (just say), “Wow, that’s fantastic,” and ignore the other side. So what you want to do is filter and capture the passion, and not the raw emotion. The emotion can get very negative, and you can’t have too thin of skin. You have to really balance points, and you’ve got to put it through a filter what you’re hearing.

Everybody has a response. It’s like, “I’ve got a bad back” — you’ve got to get those symptoms of what’s causing that bad back. Is it a disc, is it weight, is it poor posture? What is it? Don’t respond to the aching back; get to the root cause.

And I would say out of all of these conditions, when you get to the negative, there’s a reason; there’s a root cause. Some of it maybe is just someone jumping on a bandwagon. If you can peel back the layers and you’re truly passionate about it, you’re gonna get to (the truth). And that’s why I try to look at it.

When it gets to hate or real negative stuff, then I’ll turn you off. There’s no place for that in society. But other than that, if it’s just raw emotion, it’s OK.

I argue with’s Jim Utter about Twitter sometimes. I’ll say, “Everybody on Twitter is saying this,” and he’ll say, “Well Twitter’s this echo chamber, it’s not representative of society because only 25 percent of people use Twitter.” How representative of the overall NASCAR fanbase is the opinion that appears on Twitter?

That’s a good question. I’d have to think through that a little bit more, but I’d say it represents the direction. I think where we tend to get caught up is absolutes versus direction, if that makes sense. So it’s directionally correct and absolutely wrong. It’s kind of funny to say it.

What you’ll find is there’s a wave, because it’s an amplification tool. The core elements of what is being said positive or negatively is there, and some people are just amplifying. They don’t even share that opinion, and what I learned also in the early days back in ’09 and ’10, is don’t be taken by the sheer volume (of opinion on Twitter) because in some cases, they don’t even have that point of view. They’re just sharing that point of view with someone else, saying, “Can you believe what someone else had shared?” And you have the understand the mediums, right? You have to get to it and understand it. So I’ll take that assignment on, I’ll have to think that one through.

One thing social media is also good for is getting to know someone personally, and I know a lot of NASCAR fans want to learn more about you. You occasionally share pictures of your daughter, Olivia, who seems like she’s been a lifelong NASCAR fan. How does her fandom shape your view of social media today and NASCAR as a whole?

She’s been with me from the beginning, this is my only child. So before I joined NASCAR, I took her to the Daytona 500. It was the year Jamie McMurray won, and it was also the year of the concrete, the big delay in the race. But it’s really interesting: Even at a very young age, probably 3 at the time, I saw the race through her eyes. She had a Jimmie Johnson jacket.

Over the years, we went to Europe (where he lived for a job assignment) and she would sit in my lap and we would watch tennis — she loved Rafael Nadal because he was left handed — but she would love all the NASCAR races. She would sit in my lap and watch NASCAR from Zurich, Switzerland.

And it’s gone on and on every year and it’s evolved, and she is truly a passionate NASCAR fan. But she’s also a great critique. She asks me questions about, “Dad, why aren’t we doing this? Why aren’t we doing a different thing?” So I always remind her she’s not yet working for the sanctioning body, but she’s kind of a valuable input.

What I look at is she’s not too dissimilar to any other kids. There’s no difference to when I started, going to a racetrack with a friend or a family member. That’s the essence of NASCAR: It’s family, it’s faith, it’s patriotism. And we have to rekindle that.

She just turned 11 last week, which is a funny story. For her birthday, I asked, “What would you like to do?” and she said, “I want to go to Bristol.” And she’d been at Michigan the week before. So she’s gone to Michigan, Bristol and Darlington — three consecutive weekends.

She’s with her dad and her dad’s working, but to see how she’s evolved and what’s important to her, the social aspects are important for her. She loves stage racing because there’s a break in the action where she can talk to her dad or talk to her friends.

We didn’t set out to do stage racing for that reason. We did it because the number one complaint from fans was breaking from green-flag racing for a commercial. And we’re one of the few sports that does it, all motorsports does it. When we worked with NBC and FOX, we worked on a program and the industry came together to create it.

As a 10-year-old at that time, she couldn’t identify that as an issue, but she sees the benefit as a fan, and that’s what we learn about our fans — don’t worry about change; they’ll accept change. What we’re learned over time is that when talking about change, study it, get ready, make sure there’s a benefit for the fan and just do it for the right reasons.

How do you see this continuing to evolve where you can get more of Olivia’s friends to watch and get them interested in it? People get hooked as a kid, so it seems like Olivia’s generation is important. How do you guys keep continuing that and building that initiative to get more of it?

There’s no question. It’s not just sports or NASCAR. Brand preferences are formed somewhere between 7 and 10. There’s been lots of market research and marketers who have studied that for a long time. It could be a precocious 6 year old, but generally that form, they have an understanding of what they value and what they don’t.

And so we’ve worked with the industry, with the track council last year to provide kids under 12 free admission for the Truck and Xfinity races and discount tickets at the Cup level, because we need to get the families to come back together. We actually developed some interesting marketing programs. We’ve talked about the STEM program, we’re in Scholastic in the schools, physics at 200 miles per hour. These are all the enablers to try to connect that you just don’t wait until you’re grown up to get to the racetrack.

The key thing with NASCAR, the 80 million fans we have on an annual basis, it’s the core folks, the 2.5 million that come to the racetrack. Because if you come to the race, it’s just not to attend and have a great experience and that 360 engagement. We know when you watch the broadcast, you look differently at it next time — and they do a great job, but you see the sport differently. You’ll hear the calls from the Sirius/XM guys deeper and much better if you’ve been to the race. And that’s kind of the approach we look at.

I still remember my first race. I was a NASCAR fan growing up in Canada, I was working for an auto company, and I got the assignment to go to Bristol, Tennessee. It was 1988, and I was already a fan. I was grown up — I was working in the industry — but I was a young marketing executive, and I still remember that hauler with what had to be 300 or 400 people standing in front of Dale Earnhardt’s trailer on a Friday at Bristol. I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it.

And that next day, the race, I think (Alan) Kulwicki won the pole, and Earnhardt came in first, I think he beat (Bill) Elliott in a really close race. I’ve seen thousands of races, but that race to this day, even though that was my very first (was memorable).

Bristol was very different then. Still, the shape of Bristol, the core coliseum concept was alive. I took my wife and daughter last weekend, and they had never been to Bristol. They’ve been to lots of races, and they had that same experience that I had. You could just see their eyes light up, the August race under the lights at Bristol. It’s remarkable.

What else do you follow in Twitter that are your interests outside of the sport? I’ve seen some of your tweets. Obviously, you’re a hockey fan. Do you follow any hockey stuff on Twitter, do you follow any entertainment stuff that you enjoy, or is it mostly focused on your work?

I do. I get my news, so like a lot of folks, every news broadcast, NBC, FOX, ABC, and the whole gang.

Most people don’t realize I’m a huge environmentalist. I always have been, growing up on the West Coast. I’ve had that influence since a young age, so I’m very much following what’s happening in the world with those things. We race outdoors, so we understand climate change. The NASCAR Green program isn’t a slogan, we really do care about all those aspects. So I’ll kind get these bits of information as well.

We are in the entertainment business, so we’ll cross-link (with celebrities). I’ve had the pleasure in this job to meet very interesting people from industry and entertainment. So many of them you get to know, and you get to follow them and see what information they have.

Having an 11-year-old daughter, I do follow a lot of the people that she likes in terms of music. We went to an Ed Sheeran concert in Orlando last week, which was remarkable. If you’ve never seen Ed Sheeran in concert, (he’s a) one-man show, incredibly talented.

You can get really insular in your sport, and you have to make sure you don’t get insular and understand what’s happening around you.

Finally, this is a little bit of a tough question to answer because nobody really knows, but where do you see social media going next?

I think it’s about fragmentation. The beauty of the good ol’ days, back in the day you could make your communications (widespread). John Kennedy was elected at the time and used the mass media networks to tell his messages. It was remarkable.

Over time, TV has become more fragmented. So that’s a challenge, but it’s also a positive, because it can be more vertical. It can have a food channel, a sports channel, those kinds of things. So with those fragmentations comes more opportunities which can be more targeted to the audiences.

I think social media is not what some people think it is. It’s truly the media of today’s generation, and it’s not a medium for the young; it’s all generations.

So I think what you’ll see is more fragmentation, which will be challenging because you have to follow what’s new and hot, but you’re also gonna see it come back to much generalizing as well. So it’ll be a place for both.

And I think what you’ll see, it’s the old Marshall McLuhan (theory): The medium is the message. If you can approach it that way, you want to stay relevant as it adapts, but you’ll also want to recognize the platform for what it can deliver. And if you don’t mix those two pieces, I think there’s a place where social media will continue to evolve.

It’s not a fad. It’s really truly a medium for today’s generation of technologists and people around the world. I can communicate through WhatsApp with my family in Brazil. That’s amazing technology. We can instantly communicate. They’ll be following the race today at Darlington, and they’ll be messaging through WhatsApp, which is their medium to communicate with me at the track today.

So I see a great future for all social media. I think we just have to utilize it as a tool to be able to express and receive information and be able to contribute.

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 Brandon Brown of Chicagoland Speedway

Each week,  I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up next: Brandon Brown, digital marketing manager for Chicagoland Speedway.

The Chicagoland Speedway account on Twitter (@ChicagolndSpdwy) does a good job interacting with followers all year long, not just on a race weekend. What’s your philosophy as far as engaging on the feed throughout the season?

Well that’s kind of what it’s all about. I’ve been a NASCAR fan since I was 8 years old, so I appreciate talking to NASCAR fans like a NASCAR fan. That’s kind of my social media strategy.

One of the things I try to do is staying in every conversation we possibly can. For example: On Tuesday, Hendrick announced Chase Elliott was taking over the No. 9 car and William Byron was moving to the 24. I had a video queued up of when Chase Elliott won here in the 9 car in the Xfinity Series in 2014, and fans just started jumping on that. They started sending us pictures, saying, “Man, I was here in victory lane,” or “I saw his burnout.” It’s just great to interact that way. There’s no real science to social media, and that’s the way I look at it.

What’s the balance? Obviously you want to sell tickets to your race, but you also want to keep people informed and interact with them.

It’s a great balance because we want to let people know as Chicagoland Speedway what we have to offer: What the ticket prices are, how many camping spots we have, all the new amenities. But people on social media, you’ll find they become really disengaged when you just hit them over the head with “Buy tickets now, buy tickets now, we want you to buy tickets now.” And social media isn’t really the place for that, in my opinion.

So we hit on all of our marketing messages. We let people know that yes, we have tickets and we want people to come here. Our main goal is to put 55,000 people in those seats, sell out all of our camping spots and give people a great time. But on social media, you have to do different things. You have to stay conversational, and that’s not always hitting people over the head with ticketing messages.

How did you arrive at that conclusion? Is it instinct, or is there data that tells you?

There’s some great tools on Facebook, especially, where you can see what messaging point you threw out there and you lost 10 or 15 followers. And you can use that data to gear your posts toward being more conversational.

But a lot of the time on Twitter, I just do what I think I would want to see. Being a NASCAR fan myself from way back, I put out content I would like to engage with. I would call it sending out shareable content that gives you an emotional investment. If you’re emotionally invested in the content, you’re more likely to relate to it and share it out. And that helps us and that gets the job done.

You touched on Facebook, so let’s talk about that for a second. What’s the difference between content you put on Facebook and what you put on Twitter?

Well I treat Twitter as basically a place where you can have endless conversations with people about anything. Facebook is much more structured than Twitter when it comes to that. If you put out 20 Facebook posts a day, the algorithm will dilute it and all of your messaging will get filtered out unless it’s something that is really, really shareable.

But on Twitter, if I’m out there bantering with Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega, The Orange Cone and retweeting you all at the same time, it’s less likely to do that. So Facebook, we really try to stick more toward our sales messages and put your really, really great content on Facebook. On Twitter, you can be more conversational with it.

What is the strategy from a team perspective at Chicagoland? Do you have free reign to say what you want? Are there brainstorming sessions?

From Jan. 1 to race weekend, we have a great outline as to what we want to accomplish and when we want to accomplish it. But as you know, social media is 24/7/365 and very fluid, so we follow an outline, but you can’t always follow it to the T because things are changing all the time.

Are there any times when you worry about going too far with a tweet? Have you ever been reprimanded for something you tweeted?

I haven’t been reprimanded. I live-tweet all the races, and it’s saying our company message but also as a fan. When Ryan Blaney was battling Kevin Harvick (for Blaney’s first win at Pocono), you’re going nuts on Twitter. So there have been a couple things I’ve been asked to take down, but nothing really, really bad.

But when we were traveling to Michigan, we camped there and my co-worker Michael (Blaszczyk, consumer marketing manager) and I live-tweeted our trip from the Chicagoland account. So we told fans to ask us anything. One fan asked us why we don’t give out free hot passes. I said hot passes aren’t as easy to get as you might think.

But then Dale Jr. quote-tweeted us and tweeted to this guy — his name is Jeff — “Don’t lie to Jeff.”

And of course, what Dale Jr. says on Twitter is the law and it blew up. I had that heart attack moment where, “Oh my God, I’m going to have to delete this tweet, we’re going to have to put out a press release,” all this stuff.

But then Jon Wood (from Wood Brothers Racing) jumped in and was like, “Dale’s just lying” or something like that, and a couple other team guys said he was just BSing. And that quelled it. But you have those heart attack moments where you’re trying to put out something that’s edgy and fun and cool, and you just hope it doesn’t get you in trouble.

You mentioned you grew up being a fan. What was your journey to get to this point and become the digital marketing manager for Chicagoland Speedway?

Since 1993, I’ve either watched, listened to or saw in person probably 99 percent of the NASCAR races. I almost quit Little League Baseball because I couldn’t watch the 2000 Pepsi 400. It’s been a dream of mine to work in NASCAR in some capacity. I went to journalism school at West Virginia University and got a degree in broadcasting, and I wanted to be Ken Squier. Ken Squier is my broadcasting hero.

You have to start somewhere doing something, so I was a sports writer in West Virginia while I was in broadcasting school. And then luckily I got on as a stringer at the Associated Press covering women’s basketball. (AP racing writer) Jenna Fryer went to West Virginia, and she came to our school to speak. And of course, I was asking her (questions), bugging her, went to lunch with her and then I paid my way to the Coke 600 in 2008 just to shadow her for a weekend.

After I got out of college, I was a sports writer at my local paper and then worked at a sports marketing company doing copy editing and publishing and then we started social media marketing. When I was ready to move on, the Chicagoland Speedway digital marketing coordinator job opened up, and I jumped at the chance. I went and applied, and within two weeks, I was hired. It was probably one of the greatest days of my life.

How does that fan perspective inform your decisions on a day-to-day basis?

I think it goes back to what I would want to see and hear and feel and visualize as a fan. Whenever we’re pushing out marketing messages, our videos, even our creative pieces, I want every little thing to make me feel like I did when I was a kid. Like we pushed out Kyle Busch’s 18 Days to Go on our social channels (Wednesday), and Toyota Racing interacted with it and it was just really fun stuff, so it spread out to a lot of people. I want to make all of our fans have an emotional investment like I did when I was a kid.

For people whose careers are just starting off and want to make it in the NASCAR industry like you did, what advice would you give to those people?

If you’re in college, do every little thing you can outside of your schoolwork. How I got on with the Associated Press is I ran stats at the (high school) state swimming meet for two 14-hour days. Basically, they’d swim for a little bit, I’d put the stats on a jump drive and send them down to Charleston, West Virginia. They’d publish them and we’d go back and forth. Basically, I was just sitting there for the majority of the day watching high school swimming.

I didn’t have to do that. They asked at the school paper: “Hey, who wants to do this?” I said, “Sure.” The next week, the AP called me and said, “Hey, do you want to cover women’s basketball?” Then men’s basketball, then football. Then Jenna Fryer came along. So the best advice is to do every little thing you can to advance your career.

What haven’t I asked you that you want fans to know about?

In NASCAR terms, we’re a new track — 2001. A lot of tracks have the history to pull from for content. Dale Earnhardt never raced here. We can’t showcase Dale Earnhardt on any of our social channels, and we know that fans absolutely love seeing old pictures of Senior and videos. We have a smaller pool of history to pull from, so we have to be really creative in stuff we do. So that’s a challenge, but it’s a really, really fun challenge.

It sounds like you really like your job.

I really, really like my job. I kind of stole this from your Quiet Track pictures, but I do sunrises every single race day. The first Cup sunrise (on the job), I sat there and thought of one of Ken Squier’s calls to tweet out, and I started tearing up. Because it was that powerful.

Living the dream, right?

Absolutely living the dream. It’s awesome.

You can follow Chicagoland Speedway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat (Snap name: CLSNATION). Brown’s personal Twitter account is @BrandonBrownWV.

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 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 Obviously, 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 Sherry Pollex

Each week, I ask a member of the racing community to shed some light on their social media usage. Up next, Sherry Pollex, the longtime partner of Martin Truex Jr. (Note: This interview was conducted prior to Sherry’s public revelation of a cancer recurrence.)

Let’s start with your Twitter account. Sometimes you’re willing to put yourself out there, get opinionated. You’re really willing to speak your mind. What’s your basic philosophy with how you use your Twitter account?

My Twitter account is my only account that I have that’s public, so it’s my only chance to really give my opinion and be opinionated with the fans or just people in general about how I feel about things, whether I’m talking about my life, my personal life, cancer, racing, whatever. So I kinda use that as my platform.

I know that not everyone probably agrees with me all the time, but that’s OK, they don’t have to. As long as they’re respectful, I don’t block them. I try not to block people unless they’re mean. If they talk — can I cuss?


OK, if they talk shit about Martin, I’m gonna block them because I don’t like when people talk shit about him. So I’m really protective of him. If somebody says something bad about him — because he’s like the nicest guy ever — then I have to block them.

You and I have talked a couple times this year about me saying some things that aren’t totally politically correct, so I’m sure I’m not on everyone’s good side all the time. But it’s my opinion, it’s honest — and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to follow me.

From afar, I look at the motorhome lot that we’re in right now and I’m like, “Everyone is so tight-knit.” But you’re saying stuff that at times might make some people mad within the motorhome lot. So do you ever get blowback from that? Does anybody ever come to you and say, “You shouldn’t have tweeted that?”

So that’s not happened to me ever, but I have heard that happening with some of the other wives. I think at times people tend to say things that are a little sensitive to other people’s husbands, and after the race it can get a little ugly on Twitter. I’ve seen some Twitter wars between the other wives. Luckily, I have never been in the middle of one.

I know there’s been some discussions in the motorhome lot after the races. Hopefully they talk it out and let it go. I think that things are just said in the heat of the moment and maybe they weren’t meant to be mean, or they weren’t meant to be rude to that person. So hopefully they talk it out like adults afterwards.

But I’ve actually never had that happen. I have gotten some Twitter wars with people on there that are mean to me, because I think people can be so quick to be judgmental on Twitter because you’re judging somebody by 140 characters or something that they’re saying.

I tell people all the time, “You don’t know me, so don’t judge me.” Don’t judge my situation. Don’t ask me why I’m not married. You know what I mean? There are so many things that are not appropriate for that time. You don’t know my situation, you don’t know my life, so don’t make those assumptions and I won’t make them about you. I think that’s the only time it’s ever really happened to me, with just people following me.

So you feel in some ways that you’re opening up your life, but then you feel like people are thinking they’re entitled to more. Like, “You gave me this one answer, this one insight, so where is the rest of it?”

Yeah. I do think people do that. So a lot of times I’ll start something, but then I don’t finish it because people do that. They keep writing and they want more, and it’s almost like they want me to say something I’m not supposed to say. And I’m not gonna do that, because it’s not the appropriate place to do it.

But I do get the marriage question a lot. I get a lot of people that ask why we’re not married. Well, it’s been 12 years, we’re still not married, we’re probably never gonna get married — so if we’re OK with it, you should be, too. Not everybody wants to be married, let’s just get that clear. So I think it depends. I try to just run that middle line all the time. I try not to make anyone too angry and just try to stay kinda even and cool.

So you’ve talked about the people that deserve the block if they talk shit about Martin. What else deserves a block? Like how does somebody cross the line? Can somebody argue with you but not get blocked?

Yeah. I’m all for a good argument. Ask Martin: I was born to argue. I love arguing with people. But if you’re gonna argue with me, do it politely. Don’t call me names and don’t say anything obnoxious about Martin, because if you do cross that line, I’m gonna probably block you. But I really haven’t had to block that many people.

I’ve had one weird stalker guy on there that was like really, really crossing the line, like talking about my family and hurting me and people in my family. I actually had to get some people involved. It was really creepy. So there is some people that I’ve had to block where I’m like, “Don’t ever come near me. You scare me. You make me feel like I wanna have a bodyguard.” But for the most part, I think everybody’s pretty friendly.

How do you decide who to follow with your Twitter account? How often are you looking at it? Is it something where you’re getting your news from it?

I definitely use Twitter for news. I get on Martin all the time for being on his Twitter, but always he says, “This is where I get my news from. This is where I get all my information.” I tried going on vacation and (staying off it) like, “Don’t go on it for a couple of days,” but I feel like I’m missing out. I haven’t been checking it, and I’m proud of myself for not checking it, but then I feel like I’m missing out on something.

So I think there’s a really fine balance between being on it for informational purposes and to get news and then being on it too much and getting addicted to it, wanting to check it all the time to see what everybody’s doing. I naturally want to know what’s going on in other people’s lives all the time — and I think that’s human nature — but it can also be unhealthy. So I have to control it sometimes, like, “I’m only gonna check Twitter and Instagram once a day. Then I don’t need to be on it again.” It’s really hard to do.

I’ve struggled with that. I’ve pretty much given up, even on vacation, I just can’t stay off it. I think we’re just so tied into it. It’s really a link to the community too, so you know what everybody else is doing, you know what’s going on, and if you miss that, like, “Oh no you didn’t see that? You didn’t know what was going on with me?”

You feel left out, right? You feel like you’re missing out on something. Martin, I give him a hard time because he’s always on his Twitter on the bus, but he never tweets anything. So he’s always on there and I’m like, “Why are you on there if you never tweet anything and you don’t like it?” And he’s like, “I feel like if I’m not on it, I miss out on everything. I don’t know what’s going on. Everybody’s doing something and I need to know about it.” I’m like, “OK, that makes sense, because I do the same thing.” It’s hard to criticize others when I do it, too.

I just figured Martin never looked at it at all. I didn’t know he was sort of a lurker.

He’s like lurking in the background, checking it all the time. And honestly, I probably shouldn’t tell people this, but after the race, he is always checking his replies to see what people are writing to him. I think he likes to see what’s going on during the race and like what people are talking about. So yeah. He’s a lurker. He’s on there a lot. He just doesn’t tweet a lot.

You have Instagram accounts, Facebook, things like that for personal use and you keep it private. Is that just a way for you to have your own space in the social media world?

Yeah. I mean, I kind of struggled in the beginning. My Instagram was open to the public, and then I was like, “Eh, I really need to have something where I can post pictures for friends and family that don’t live here that I want to keep in touch with where they can just see it, and not everybody can see it.” So that’s why I keep my Instagram private.

I’m not a big Facebook person. I have an account, but I just use it for my business (Lavendar Boutique), so I’m never really on there. So I just do Twitter and Instagram. And I’m really addicted to Instagram — I’m on there all the time. I’m always putting stuff on my story and I like to share with my friends and family, but I need my own space to keep part of my life private. So that’s why I do that.

Where do the Sherry Strong accounts come into play (for her cancer prevention website Do you post a lot on those yourself? Are you looking at replies to those accounts as well?

Yeah, so the @SherryStrongOC pages — we have a Facebook, an Instagram, and a Twitter, and I post on all of them. My sister, Jill, does too because she runs that account. So we both kind of tag team it. Like if I’m like juicing it or doing something cool in the morning that I want them to see that has to do with my health, then I film it. And then we do a lot of articles.

It’s not even just for cancer patients, it’s just for people in general on how to keep their bodies healthy and how to be well and how to use cancer prevention — not just if you have cancer, how to control it. So I love doing all of that. That’s a really cool outlet for me to share with the fans and how I live my life every day. I really enjoy that. So I kinda do both.

I switch around. I help Martin with his accounts sometimes, too, so I do Martin sometimes, I do mine and I do the Sherry Strong. So I have a lot of different accounts that I switch around back and forth between.

What kind of feedback have you gotten from those Sherry Strong accounts? For instance, you were talking about deodorant at one point — like how a lot of the deodorants are toxic — and my wife Sarah switched over to a healthier deodorant after seeing your post about it. So you must get a good response when you’re educating a lot of people that don’t know about this stuff.

Yeah. So I posted the deodorant thing on my personal Twitter after we put out the Sherry Strong site, and it went crazy. People went nuts over it. So I got a lot of questions about that. I mean, that’s great; I’m glad to hear that Sarah switched her deodorant, ’cause that’s good.

There’s a lot of things I learned when I got cancer about toxins on my body or in our house and around the things that we use everyday, and it was eye-opening for me. I wanted to be able to share that with people, so I try to share the important things on my personal Twitter, too, so that people who don’t follow the Sherry Strong sites can see it.

But I try not to bombard people that follow me on my personal Twitter. I know that they don’t want to hear about deodorant everyday — and I don’t write about deodorant everyday — but it is important that people know about the toxins in their body and their environment, so we do a lot of that.

And I enjoy sharing that information because it’s a lot of work to get all that and figure out what that means and what that means in your household and for you body, so we try to decipher all that for all the fans and do it for them.

What are some of your favorite accounts to follow that makes being on Twitter fun for you?

Oh geez, I have a lot of favorites. So I follow a lot of the drivers, of course. I really enjoy following Dale Jr. because he’s really funny. I’ve known Dale for a long time — Martin and him have been friends for a long time — and I know he’s really witty and funny, but he’s really funny on Twitter. Like you see his true personality come out. He’s probably my favorite person to follow.

Then I follow a couple celebrities. I follow Ashton Kutcher and random people, just celebrities that I like in movies and stuff. And then I follow some health-related stuff that I like. You put me on the spot — I can’t think of any others off the top of my head besides I really like to follow Dale Jr.

Do ever have to mute anybody?

No, how do you mute people? What are you talking about?

So if you mute somebody on Twitter, you still follow them, basically, but you no longer see their tweets so they don’t know that you don’t see their tweets. They’re just out of your timeline so you don’t have to deal with them anymore.

I didn’t know you could do that. So now you gave me this new trick that I’m gonna have to do. There might be a couple people I’m gonna have to do that to. I don’t feel like I follow that many people, but I probably do. I haven’t even looked to see how many people I follow (769). But there might be some people who I need to pull that card with now. I don’t know. You just gave me a new trick up my sleeve.

You may no longer see my tweets after this. So are you into Snapchat at all? Have you ever considered looking at Snapchat?

I’m not on Snapchat. Well, I take that back. I do have Snapchat on my phone, I did create an account, but I just never use it. I use it to take the funny pictures with the filters. So I do all the funny faces then I save the pictures and send it to people, but I don’t use Snapchat.

I took over the NASCAR Snapchat one day, and that was fun. Martin and I had some fun with that. But as far as opening it up to the public and using it, I think I just have so many other things that I wanna do with my time, it gets overwhelming.

I’m already doing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all that, so I don’t need to have one more thing with my time. I wanna spend time with my friends and family and be present in the moment, so I kinda have to pick and choose.

How much during a race are you looking at Twitter? Obviously you’re watching what’s going on on TV. Do you listen to the radio for Martin? How much information do you pull from Twitter as the race is actually going on?

I definitely listen to Martin’s radio, and then I’m always on Twitter during the race. So whether I’m writing anything or not, I use it for information. I read what the other wives are saying about their husbands’ cars, I read what the teams are saying about their cars, I read about what’s going on when a caution comes out, I read about what the media says. I read everything on Twitter during the race. I think it’s just a good place to get information and it kinda keeps me engaged and I can hear things that are going on with our team outside of Martin’s radio. So it’s super useful during the race, for sure.

Any final thoughts on where you think social media is going? It’s obviously come a long way in our lifetime — in the last few years really. It’s sort of crazy how it’s just suddenly there and everybody’s using it all the time. Where is it going next?

I don’t know. That’s a good question. Social media has blown up. I remember when Twitter first came out and we got on it and everyone was like, “This isn’t gonna be big. No one’s gonna do it.” And it’s huge. So I can’t even imagine where it’s gonna go now with all the video technology. Now you can do surveys and all that stuff. I can’t even imagine in five to 10 years from now where it’s gonna be.

My hope for the youth of America is that they’re not so engaged on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that they forget to look up and enjoy their lives and live in the moment. I know we’re all kind of guilty of that, and I’d hate to see that with the younger generations.

I think it’s cool that they have all these different avenues and ways they can connect with other people — I just hope they don’t miss out on their lives, too.