Marbles ~ Laura Marieee: 09-16-2009

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Marbles

So, new to F1B this week is me, Laura Marieee. The F1 world and social media so far, do not mix. Well, not a lot. So what is it all about and what does it mean for the fans? Here’s the introduction to what I am about, and what I intend to bring you. Welcome to Marbles…

When it comes to social networking, there is a whole other world out there. Everyone, well, most people have jumped on the Facebook bandwagon, and in recent months the Twitter craze seems to have taken off with an extra 80 horsepower.

So why is it, that with all the celebrities out there with their own Facebook fan pages, and their Twitter profiles, the world of F1 hasn’t yet jumped on this bandwagon? It seems strange, what with all the technology that surrounds F1 that, as yet they aren’t quite up there with the rest of us.

So, just like Kimi Raikkonen used his KERS in Monza, the celeb world have given themselves that boost into the social media world, but like Adrian Sutil who couldn’t keep up with Kimi’s KERS, the F1 drivers are struggling to keep up with this ‘other world’. Brawn won in Monza; funny then that both Barrichello and Button have signed up to Twitter isn’t it!?

Ok, comparing the F1 world and KERS to regular celebs and the internet is a strange thing to do, but it just seems like we’re screaming out for more F1 drivers to join the social network. And none of them are listening.

Ordinary people meet new people on Twitter all the time and they all have things in common. There is an army of F1 fans out there, all crying out to talk to their favourite drivers. Surely for drivers to sign up to such a site would mean they could interact with their fans and directly answer their questions?

Of course there is the fact that we, as the fans, don’t know whether they are the real deal or not. All we know is that @rubarrichello is the real Rubens Barrichello, @The_Real_JB is the real Jenson Button, and @NelsonPiquet is the real Nelson Piquet Jnr. How? Well Rubens and Nelson have both been verified by Twitter, and Jenson, well he’s Jenson isn’t he!?

Recently some clown decided to con the F1 fans by claiming he was in fact the real Sebastian Vettel. Lots of people fell for this guy, even Jenson it seemed fell for it, (or was he just going along with him!?). This fool managed to get himself nearly 2,000 followers before it emerged, from a Red Bull insider who had got it straight from the horse’s mouth, that is was not him. His followers have more than halved since then.

We’re all crying out for the drivers to join us and talk to us, share their feelings, and keep us connected, long after the season reaches its conclusion in November, so a) When is it going to happen, and b) When it does how are we going to know if they are who they say they are!?

Some of the teams have already signed up. @TheFifthDriver, as it is so strangely named, is McLaren. @clubforce is Force India. @OfficialBrawnGP is Brawn.

McLaren are definitely the most interactive team, they talk to the fans and if you follow them, they follow you back. A few months ago, Lewis Hamilton updated the team’s tweets, but it appears he didn’t choose to sign up himself.

Interestingly enough, on Saturday, one fan sent the following message to McLaren’s official Twitter page:

@TheFifthDriver Can You tell if @Lewis_Hamilton a real Lewis’ Twitter or a fake account? Thanks

The reply:

@KicoStone Lewis doesn’t have a Twitter account, so it’s definitely not real. Both Lewis & Heikki Tweet here from time to time though…5:40 PM Sep 12th from web in reply to KicoStone

So there you have it, perhaps next time they tweet from @TheFifthDriver, perhaps the team could set them up with their own accounts. Is that a request? Yes! Thanks!

Force India also interact with the fans, however, they are not following as many people as McLaren. Brawn are the same, however, they do regularly post photographs. McLaren also do this, and they ask questions to the fans as well, to get them involved. So why don’t more teams do this?

So F1 is making a move in the social media direction, but they have a fair bit of catching up to do… The fans can only hope that one day, soon, they’ll be able to talk to more drivers. Until then, we just have to make do with what we’ve got.

And when they do tweet, it is great to hear what the drivers have to say about their race weekends. Jenson had this to say about his weekend in Monza on Tuesday evening:

Hey guys had a great weekend at Monza…. Great qualifying followed by a very eventful race.. P2 very happy with that :-) role on Singapore! about from web

Without wanting to make it sound like an afterthought, this week something has to be said about Santander’s sponsorship deal with Ferrari, and the news that they are continuing to sponsor McLaren in 2010 as well. Well that should be interesting, particularly if Alonso heads to Ferrari, and Santander calls upon their Spanish AND British drivers to appear in their TV ads. It will be another “Anything you can do, I can do better!”, except this time they won’t have to pretend they get along for the benefit of Mercedes. Whatever happens, it should be interesting. Speculation has been rife since the news came out just a few days ago about Santander’s plans to continue sponsoring McLaren, which just sends silly season into even more of a spin. A bit like Lewis’s crash on Sunday.

Still, it should be an interesting partnership, what with two of the biggest F1 teams on its books. Just a thought… Until next week…

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