Does this sound familiar? Well here’s the fix…
If you are a motorcycle race fan, chances are good you got up this morning, (as early as 5:30 am for those of you on the left coast), got all settled in for the spectacle of World Superbike Superpole being streamed on BeIn web live or on the tv if you are one of the lucky ones that has access to that, only to find…nothing. So, you went over to http://www.worldsbk.com/ and logged on to the WSBK website for live timing, and found yourself staring at page covered by boxes that block info and a feed that loaded so slowly that half the info wasn’t event there. What to do?
That’s where Twitter comes in. And while 200 million people actively do understand it and know how to use it, 300 million other people that are signed up for it, are inactive accounts. Speculation is many don’t know how it works. So it stands to reason that a lot of Ducati fans who might find it pretty useful, don’t know why they need it. And don’t want to look stupid and admit they don’t have a clue how it works. If you are already using it, feel free to stop reading right now, I’d just be preaching to the choir.
For the rest of you – I am going to show you the fast track to “watching” races in real time via Twitter, no communication needed, this is about what I will call “lurk mode”.
First, you need an account. On the computer, or as an app, your choice. I have them all. I personally like the Tweetbot app on my iPad, and Hootsuite on the laptop, but for the purposes of just using Twitter to get real time info, anything including the standard Twitter provided app works just fine. You also need to decide what “name” you will go by. It’s possible to change it later, and what you pick is up to you. I’m a fan of making it easy to find me, so I use @vickismith and @ducatinet. All names start with the @ sign so if you are looking for a specific person or account on Twitter, use the @ sign. Got it? Just fill in the form and you are ready to get started.
Ok, now you are enrolled. How on earth do you find what you are looking for? That my friend, is where the art of the Twitter search, and specifically, the hashtag, comes in. This is a hashtag —> #, and when you put it in front of a word, like say #Ducati or #SBK in the search box it will bring up all the tweets past and as they post in real time, giving you an instant race feed, or info, on whatever you are looking for, like maybe a #ducatiparty or #redsnake ride. Whatever you are trying to learn about, right now. You can also search, for, say, Nicky Hayden, and all the recent tweets about him (and from him) will come up. Hashtags are used to make it easy to find previous “Tweets” via search. Twitter, like Google, is only as good as the person entering the info so sometimes you have to try a couple of search terms to find what you are looking for.
That’s why this morning, I used #SBK for one search and #WSBK for another and the result was worthy of a stock quote feed. Instant, accurate, often with links to results and photos. And the information is to the point, Twitter posts are restricted to 140 characters or less. (and this includes spaces between words) It makes for some interesting spelling but it really works. I ALWAYS keep a twitter feed open while race watching, especially for the GP’s because the comments during the race weekend by guys like David Emmet (@MotoMatters) and Neil Spalding (@spalders) and so many of the onsite journalists and photographers are really insightful and add to the enjoyment and understanding. Situations that arise with mechanical failures, and crashes or medical updates that simply do not show up elsewhere until they make a corporate press release might be openly discussed among participants on Twitter. Things like Tweets by Rossi team member Alex Briggs on the discussion topics in the team car on the way into the track each day are regular fare. I guess my hashtag for that is #flyonthewall, another use for hashtags is to add to the topic. So a tweet like: “Ducati trackwalk at #CotAMGP on Friday” might also have a funny hashtag like #comfortableshoes or #BeOnTime or #longwayround
Now that you have figured out how to get to the information, you’ll want to create a list of people or sources you might like to subscribe to. This is easy, when you find yourself reading someone’s posts with interest, just click “follow” and they are automatically added to your “feed”. (People you follow will automatically appear, again, similar to a stock market feed) If you want some good suggestions on who to follow, click on someone you like and see who they follow. Or, look for high Klout scores (In the Hootsuite app Klout scores are listed on each person’s profile) This is a good way to see who is respected are who people are actually listening to, not who is churning out the most tweets and posts. Any score over 60 is a good indication they are a respected source and worth your time. David Emmett from MotoMatters has a score of 68. Ducati Motors, a 65. Celebrities are generally the highest, Valentino Rossi is always in the mid 80′s. It’s a good way to channel the information sources so you aren’t wasting time.
What started me thinking I needed to write this in the first place is because during race weekend it is such a great communication tool. And so many of us are attending CotA. During Amelia Island I tweeted and Instagram’d under the hashtag #ducatiamelia and the feedback was that people really liked the instant “You are there” of it, since we can’t all be there but most of of wish we could be. Ducati North America has used it during Ducati Island events.
This weekend the main event hashtag is #COTAMGP and that will allow you to find all the posts, not just mine.
To follow me: Starting on Wednesday, you can follow me on Twitter under @ducatinet and @vickismith or on Instagram, where I share photos as Vicki_Smith And of course the Ducati.net Facebook feed will be a great source as always: https://www.facebook.com/ducnet?ref=hl (You do not need to be a member of Facebook to read the Ducati.net Facebook page, you just can’t post there)
I know. Still confusing. But you really should give it a try. Once you figure it out you might wonder how you ever lived without it…..