Social Media Explorer isn’t just the name of my blog, but also my job title. While I threw out the suggestion to Todd Spencer, Doe Anderson’s CEO, as a joke, he cocked his head and said, “I kind of like that.” My business cards arrived a few days later and have proven to be the perfect curiosity piece to engage folks in conversations about what I do.
This week, we payoff the promise of exploration with an adventure, both in social media and in the traditional, travel sense, as I take to both the Checker Auto Parts 500 NASCAR race at the Phoenix International Raceway and the Baja 1000 off-road race with Robby Gordon Motorsports and Jim Beam Racing.
For Phoenix, we’ll be testing the idea and just having some fun with it. For Baja, however, the real fun sets in. I’ll be manning a satellite phone to provide Twitter updates from the team during the 18- to 24-hour endurance race down the Baja peninsula in Mexico.
The updates are being packaged (I hate the term “mash up”.) with a GPS tracking map for Gordon’s truck and team support vehicles and some pre-recorded videos (look/listen for me in some of those, too) on Robby Gordon’s website at http://www.robbygordon.com. Of course, if you’re a Twitterer (Tweeter? Twit Victim?), you can “FOLLOW ROBBYGORDON” and get the updates the way you do mine or those of other interesting people.
We’ll also be providing post-race videos when we can, but the whole point of the exercise is to provide communications from a place not normally well-connected. There ‘s a general update person they call “The Weatherman” that gives status updates from checkpoints on some off-road racing message boards, but following the Baja 1000 from afar is next to impossible. (Thank you for tape delayed TV rights, NBC.) Until tomorrow.
We’ve even arranged for one of Robby’s biggest fans to monitor race updates from The Weatherman and supplement my on-the-scene updates with overall race information, providing watchers with some context to it all. He’ll also serve as back-up should our technology fail us. This really is a first-attempt, test run and our excitement for the project is only matched by our uncertainty that it will work.
Like I told the team working on all this, you never land on the moon if you don’t try.
Because my communications will be limited to the satellite phone for Baja, I’ve started using Utterz in order to provide some podcast posts here via cell phone. (Ha, Ha! You can’t nail me on spelling misakes mistakes!) The plan is to provide as many updates as I can, knowing I’m limited both by international communication/connectivity and obligation to the RGM/Beam Racing effort there. There will certainly be an unloading of Flickr images, perhaps a video diary post or two and plenty of tall tales of our adventures upon my return.
Until then, enjoy following along here, but be sure to check out the Beam Baja Twitter Tracker on the RGM website on Sunday for NASCAR, Monday for travel and Baja preps and Tuesday (and into the wee hours of Wednesday) to see Baja unfold. The videos will be accessible there or on Robby’s YouTube channel.
Lots of people have worked very hard on this project. Rob Harris at Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) is chief among them. J.J. Betts, Brian Gallagher, Mallika Monteiro, Sam Seiller and the rest of the Beam Team and folks at Wirestone, Ketchum and GMR Marketing also deserve a lot of credit for helping us pull this off. We’re tapping into the platforms provided by ionearth.com and, certainly, Twitter to make it happen. They deserve a tip of the cap, too. Of course, none of it would be possible without the adventurous spirit and unbridled passion for racing and race fans that Robby Gordon himself brings to the table.
As for me? Everyone working on the project thinks me having to hop around the Baja peninsula in a plane landing on short runways, texting my fingers to the bone, picking sand out of places I didn’t know existed and perhaps even having a face-to-face meeting with dysentery means I drew the short straw.
But I’m the social media explorer right? The long straw, indeed.
IMAGE: Courtesy, Robb Gordon Motorsports.
[tags]Baja 1000, Robby Gordon, Jim Beam, Beam Racing, NASCAR, Checker Auto Parts 500, Phoenix International Raceway, social media explorer[/tags]