It is unquestionable that twitter has had a huge impact on cycling. It is probably safe to say that a lot of cyclists – both recreational and pro – would have never heard of the social media and microblogging service if it were not for the tweets of a particular American Pro Cyclist. “Tweets” – or postings to twitter – are increasingly becoming one of the most accurate and timely sources of information on the international racing scene.
There have been many international scene races in the last year or so where numerous fans on the roads have helped to provide up to the minute race coverage. However, perhaps the power of Twitter as a source of pro cycling news came to a head most poignantly at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California when there were folks tweeting events as they happened – from cars in the pro peloton. I know that personally, as I was positioned at various finish lines of the race, I became a sudden celeb in the crowd of folks I happened to find myself in. It was not because of any particular status or insight. Rather, it was because I was able to capture these up-to-the-minute tweets right there, at the finish line, on my smartphone. I knew where the peloton was, who was in the breaks, and how many km were left to go.
All of this information is great when you are standing at the finish line or somewhere along the route waiting for the teams to roll by. However, it is a much different perspective when you’ve gone back to your day jobs and have to wait until you get home to catch the day’s racing (or at least the meager sampling of the day’s racing that Versus manages to get to the American public.) However, if you’ve got your “twitter in a bunch” and utilize tools such as TweetDeck on your laptop, or Twidroid on our Android powered smartphone, another new and perhaps unexpected problem can arise. Specifically, with Twitter hooked directly to your social-media blood stream, it can be really really hard to avoid knowing what has happened in that big stage of the day’s race (like Stage 4 of the Tour de Suise) before you have the opportunity to get home and watch that delayed broadcast of, or recorded copy of, the race of the day.
I’d like to say that I have some great solution for those of you out there that are suffering from this like I am. Unfortunately there is no middle ground between wanting to know every single details, and wanting to know every single detail but 8 hours after the fact. No middle ground, that is, except for unplugging a little bit, putting down the phone, turning off the auto-popups on every tweet you follow. And if you are addicted like I am, you sure as hell aren’t going to be turning off those alerts any time soon.
On the other hand, if you pass it off as casual predictions, your friends will be amazed at the accuracy with which you can “predict” the outcomes of those tragically delayed Versus broadcasts of the European races. Maybe it is high time you started wagering six packs and seat posts on your amazing predictive powers, eh?
Until then – see you at the races, and @delducra will be listening!