Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fan Civility

by Tammy

A confession: I haven't been watching much racing the last couple months. I follow it, and I know what's happening, but I haven't been sitting in front of the television for hours every weekend watching each lap turned.

But while I'm writing, I've got live timing and scoring rolling on my screen. But more enlightening that even the live feed from the track is following races on Twitter (or TweetDeck, in my case).

Social media has affected every aspect of our lives, right? So maybe it's not so strange to say that in the last decade it's completely changed how we watch races—how we experience them, whether we're at the track or not. But it's still kind of amazing. I was following the NASCAR race on Sunday and within two minutes of Kyle Busch's brush with the wall, there was a video snippet posted that I could watch of the incident. And plenty of commentary.

Now, the news and facts are useful, and by that, I'm referring to the updates posted by the racing journalists I follow. For the most part, I'm also highly entertained by the random fan comments: the endless Junior or Danica supporting or bashing, and the snarky comments about any bump, rub, or crash.

What amazes me, however, is the depth of emotion. I mean, I dislike Kyle Busch intensely and like Tony Stewart a lot. But am I going to get personally offensive to someone who disagrees with me? Not likely. But plenty of you people out there do—and it's not just on Twitter. Read any online article and check out the comments, you'll see what I mean.

What started me thinking about this today was someone on Twitter slamming Nicole Briscoe (who's co-hosted motorsport-report shows for some years and is married to a top pro driver) for expressing an opinion that contradicted something an actual racecar driver thought, complete with disparaging remarks about "pageant queens" (she was one) and calling her "IGNORANT" (caps theirs). Seriously? Where'd the civility go?

I get that we all have a microphone now, and I do enjoy the conversation that is social media ... I've gotten to meet (virtually and in person) a lot of great people because of those conversations. But I suppose there's also the looming possibility that someone's going to call me ignorant or an asshole because I'm expressing an opinion that's different than theirs.

All I can say is, like and hate who you choose in the racing world. I won't judge you, if you don't judge me.

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