FRENCHTOWN, N.J. — I recently created a post on Facebook about utilizing social media for the better.
At the time I wrote this column, the post had reached more than 144,000 people and more than 650 people had shared it. Mind you, I’m just a small-town Jersey girl who’s grown up in racing, so for a single post to reach that many people is astonishing.
I figured it’s the beginning of race season and before people start attending races and posting negative thoughts on social media, I should make this post in hopes to give them a little food for thought before they make their next post.
In my post, I wrote about our emotions getting the best of us. I’m no angel, it’s happened to me before, too. I get it. Nobody likes when a show runs late, the racing wasn’t that great, or someone made the wrong call. It’s frustrating when people pay hard-earned money to see good racing but leave the track disappointed.
But that’s the thing, we’re all there for a reason, because we love the sport, right? If we really love the sport, we shouldn’t do anything that could lead to tracks closing or sponsors withdrawing their support.
This is where I chime in and say, “Hello! We’re all only hurting the sport when we have the nerve to utilize social media to promote negative opinions.”
I understand we all have our own opinions and we all want them to be heard.
Even if the racing wasn’t that great, there must be something positive to post about. The beer was cold. The food was good or anything else. Why not post about that?
Guess what? We’re all human. We all make mistakes, so don’t go and criticize someone else for theirs. When you do, that says a lot about your own character, not theirs.
I want everyone who attends the races to know they can help be a positive influence in our racing community. I want them to share the love, share the positives, share the passion and inspire others to want to do the same. Everyone has the potential to make a difference and I want them to be aware of that.
The number of fans, track owners and promoters who reached out to me after I made that post was incredible. Officials from one track reached out and said they lost sponsorship because of all the negative comments made about their track on social media. The sponsor didn’t want their business to be involved with such negative talk. Another promoter shared how they receive nasty messages and phone calls daily.
Do you still doubt that negative talk is hurting racing?
These people are humans, just like you and me. They’re trying to give us a place to go to on a Saturday night to enjoy with our friends and family and be entertained. Criticizing race organizers and officials on social media is not fair to those who make our sport what it is.
Believe it or not, I even received a few “not so happy” comments regarding my post. Several people believe they have freedom of speech and if there is an issue, it should be addressed.
Well, I agree. However, I feel it should be addressed behind closed doors, which is the purpose of my post in its entirety. If there is an issue someone feels needs to be addressed, they should go to the promoter or go to the track owner and be ethical about it. There’s no need to post something negative on social media just for the likes or for the attention. That is not the way social media should be utilized.
I may be young and naive in some people’s eyes, but I’ve been in this sport long enough to understand the right time to say something and when it’s time to keep my mouth shut.
Am I always happy with how some tracks are run or calls that are made? Absolutely not. However, if there is an issue, I know the correct and polite way to go about bringing it to the people’s attention. If the track listens to what you have to say, then the ball is in their court.
But please, please stop utilizing social media to promote negative opinions.
How do these tracks attract new fans? By word of mouth advertising. That’s why we all need to come together and help these tracks.
So the next time you attend a race,, post something positive. Let your friends be intrigued to want to go. Utilize social media for positive advertising because we all have the potential to make a difference.