Mark Martin Takes to Twitter
It started rather simply.
On the morning of Jan. 23, Mark Martin, dressed in his new firesuit, waited patiently in an office at Michael Waltrip Racing reading texts on his Sprint iPhone. An Aaron’s commercial was to begin filming in the shop a few minutes later.
A messenger brought in the word.
“Hey Mark, Michael just signed up you for Twitter and your address is @55markmartin.”
Martin looked up puzzled and simply said “OK…what does that mean?”
Within minutes Martin began Twitter lessons on his phone but was obviously still a bit unsure what his new boss just got him into.
“I don’t know about this,” said Martin, who begins his 30th Sprint Cup season in 2012.
“I’m not what they call an early adapter to new technology. I wasn’t a big fan of HDTV when it first came out, but after trying it out I can’t live without it now. So, I’ll try it.”
Waltrip, whose own Twitter following exceeds 81,000, offered some advice.
“I said, 'You don't have to be controversial, just follow along and let the fans have a peek into who you are,” suggested the two-time Daytona 500 champion.
Martin took the first tentative steps on Twitter and cautioned new followers that he’s still learning about social media.
“I don’t plan on tweeting about once a week,” he warned.
Martin began answering fan questions on subjects ranging from what he thought of his new team, his 25-race schedule or how much he can bench press. As the days ticked by he became more prolific, tweeting more than 200 times the first week. Mostly he talks about racing and his favorite music. He even learned to block followers jokingly threatening former teammate Matt Kenseth.
“I just like playing with it and talking to the fans,” said Martin who even tweeted over the weekend. “Never thought I’d get into it, but it’s kind of neat. At first I wasn’t sure Michael did me a favor because the last thing I need is something to take up more time, but it’s been fun so far. I’d have never done it on my own. I thought just kids did it, but I’ve got people all ages following me now.”
Within the first week his following surpassed 10,000.
“I guess they’ve hooked me,” Martin said.