Twitter @ the Tour of California

Think what you will about Twitter (what Social Media dreams are made of or the marginalia of the blogosphere), but its impact is ever more apparent at the Tour of California. Carlton Reid said it best

“Twitter is amazing! I’m in UK but at times I’m better informed than race commentators. They need to hook into Twitter.”

In the car driving back from an early season race in Oregon, I read Johan Bruyneel’s in-the-team-car postings as the raced finished.

During the USPro Road Race Championships in Greenville last year, I rode in the Mavic Car with Josh Boggs and live blogged (I wasn’t using Twitter at the time) from my iPhone. I was in the back, holding onto the oh-shit bar and a set of wheels. Mark from Cyclingnews was in the front. While I moblogged, Mark listened to race radio and alternated between typing and calling it in on two phones.

What struck me then was the old and new school and here I was, doing it for the hell of it, ad-hoc blog style while here was a journalist, making his money.

sat_phone.jpg I talked about the old and new media later with Brook Watts legendary race promoter and he recalled how back in the day races were called in with satellite phones. Presumably before then it was radios, morse code, and teletypes.

The audience will judge if all of these racers, fans, and amateur race reports are more valuable than coverage from Road Bike Action, Bicycling, Velonews, or Cyclingnews. While that’s being determined, follow along

Twitter

In no particular order

Next I’d like to see Garmin add a Twitter text box on their GPS unit and racers can report right from the race.

Photo Credit photogjoe.



11 Comments

Couldn’t agree with you more about Twitter and the speed with which information is being distributed.  It was interesting to see how quickly the stolen Astana bike news was rocketing through the system while the mainstream media sources hadn’t caught on to the story until several hours after the occurrence.  Paired with the ability for people to get real time updates on the races via their phones,  I think Twitter is rapidly becoming “the source”.  It’s how I found THIS article!

That’s correct. See [this screenshot](http://www.flickr.com/photos/huggerindustries/3284586827/) from this morning. Remarkable and you can bet the magazines are going, “huh!?”

Here’s a guy they normally scramble to quote after a race and he’s trumping them with race play-by-play because he can from his cell phone.

I was at the Finish line in Santa Rosa yesterday, and by the power of twitter and an iPhone, I was certainly more informed than the announcer. It seemed like the info I was getting from search.twitter was 5-10 minutes ahead of what was being called in, if not more.

The thing that gets me is how short the lifetime of relevancy the information we’re fed is. As soon as the race is over and the traditional media outlets pick up the story, the info from twitter is essentially useless and/or too time consuming to parse. Unless you keep up-to-the-minute, it loses all value.

@dave,

That’s right it’s all “in the moment” as microblogging is intended to do and where I think the magazines and more traditional resources will still offer value. Example is I enjoy the post-race quotes on Cyclingnews and round ups, quality photo galleries on Velonews. Road Bike Action’s take and so on. Twitter isn’t going to make for a very good DVD.

Another example is Velonews is providing racer power files with commentary. How valuable is that to their audience? Unsure, but I think it’s a good attempt at being creative and interesting. Offer some value-add to a topic thousands of people are covering.

What’s most interesting is suddenly Twitter is left the realm of self-professed social media experts and into the hands of a director sportiff. That’s the real story. Not just for geeks anymore.

I am going to continue to make a distinction between types of information. I think that there is a qualitative difference between types of communication and information sharing. More tidbits streaming into your consciousness at a faster rate is not necessarily “information.” Certainly it is “data” and may well evolve into information, but it seems that in our ever-expanding rush to know everything about everything, we’re gradually losing the ability not only to sort data from information, but the cognitive wherewithall to determine the truly important from the merely titillating.

I wanted to watch the AToC on TV yesterday, but I kept seeing tweets of what was going on, I had to work really hard to not to get spoilers. When I got home to watch the the stage on DVR, Versus a had no video, I was so bummed and quickly wished I didn’t ignored all the tweets from earlier in the day. @joelprice

totally agree - good summary.  everything from lance tweeting right when he found out about his bike being nabbed to multiple tweets right after the finish about the tough conditions.  I love when “normal” (non techie culture) embraces technology and they really “get it”

Sorry for repeating a Twitter comment but…

TV + Twitter + ticker = wholesome goodness. It’s all needed for the fullest picture.

But thought stuff, after the event, still hyper important. I just love the horse’s mouth angle from Lance and Johan and others.

Too much info? Tune out of some of it. Dip in and out.

@Blackbear,

Just last year, I was criticizing Twitter as the marginalia of the blogosphere and I really didn’t need the status of the lint under someone’s couch, but seeing Bruyneel posting from the team car, I realized the medium had left the domain of the geeks. It’s got a critical mass outside of tech conferences. What’s happening at the TOC is like the skipper of the Mariners posting from the dugout on the big play. Lance Armstrong started the trend in cycling.

In another medium, you can find some really outstanding race photos on Flickr that are creative commons and just shared with the world or YouTube videos presumably.

BTW, venture capitalists just invested 35M in Twitter and they did it for the audience, the eyeballs.

@Carlton,

Agreed and that’s what I’m doing and interestingly enough, Twitter doesn’t require me to keep a “live race report” open, I just pop in and see tweets from 12 different people and read that “a break is up the road.” Or “George flatted,” etc. It’s exactly that, dip in, get some brief info and out. Later, watch it on TV and read the full race recap.

Also, should note that [Fredcast](http://www.thefredcast.com/) is podcasting the TOC.

When can we expect to see the “no text messaging during a race” rule from the UCI?  I imagine Lance will be tweeting soon from peloton.  Can’t be far off.

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