Day 14 of Badger’s Advent Calendar and we’re turning our attention to Twitter, why you should get involved, who to follow and how to make the most of it…

wouldn't it be great if drivers could tweet from the car....!?

It’s fairly safe to say that 2010 was not only the year where no less than five drivers contested for the title in the closing stages, but also the year that Formula One seemingly opened it’s doors to fans in a whole new way, through the medium of Twitter – and what great news it is…

You calling me a Twit?

Before I go on, I’d like to briefly summarise what Twitter is, because believe it or not, not every man and his dog is on the social networking equivalent to having a cup of tea (there are more tweets per day than cups of tea in Britain – and that’s a lot!)  According to Twitter themselves, this is how they define themselves and their product:

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.

At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can share a lot with a little space.

In other words, you can go to Twitter.com, sign up for a free account, think of a witty username then start choosing who you want to ‘follow’ – by following someone you’ll see their messages (referred to as tweets) and can even publicly reply.  Other people can follow you too and see what you’re up to too.

Now, some non-believers may think “I don’t care who had what for breakfast” – fair enough, in that case don’t follow people like Britney Spears and many other such celebs, instead, being an F1 fan, you can follow all those listed below, including BadgerGP and get the latest F1 news, conversation and discussion in real time.  It’s all very clever, but also dangerously addictive!  During a race, rather than joining in live chat sessions with friends you can simply watch you Twitter homepage and learn so much more about what the teams are up to, it’s ace.

Ten great things about Twitter

Interaction with fans and teams – It’s no accident that Geoff Collins (Virgin Racing’s Tech PR chap) turned up at the Badger event for the Brazilian GP to meet people and give you an insight into F1 behind the scenes – it all came about through witty banter on Twitter – something the new teams in particular have been bust doing throughout this glorious season.  BadgerGP likes Virign Racing, Virgin Racing likes BadgerGP, simple as that.

Insider knowledge – it’s no lie that F1 is all about tactics, but Lotus took this to a new level this season, when using Twitter to say when drivers were coming in to pit, when actually they weren’t and it was just a ploy to encourage other teams to react – clever eh!?  In all seriousness though, many key figures as well as PR folk are on twitter and it’s often where you find out great little trinkets of info.  Where was the first picture of Branson being given his air steward uniform after losing his bet with Tony Fernandes?  You guessed it – Tony tweeted it direct from the Abu Dhabi pit lane.  Brilliant.

News stories – sure the BBC and Autosport are pretty quick off the mark when it comes to breaking news stories, but not as quick as Twitter.  As soon as anything happens, once someone reputable tweets it, it can be the centre point of conversation between F1 fans globally within seconds.

New Badger articles – here at Badger, we know you probably don’t have the time to keep checking back for new articles or can be bothered with RSS feeds, no matter how really simple they are – instead by simply checking Twitter or using a application to do so you can see when BadgerGP publishes a new article… as well as any other blogs/sites you follow.  Even if Badger hasn’t reported some news, we’ll retweet someone who has so you’re always in the know.

Get to know the actual people in F1 – everyone knows the people involved in F1, but what about beyond their media facade (yep, many have one) – what does Timo Glock do when he’s not racing?  Answer: Eats and enjoys eating, so much so that he regularly photographs his food and tweets about it.  This led to one of Badger’s fav sites, GrandPrixDiary arranging a competition called “Ready Steady Glock” and before you know it fans are submitting recipes to Timo himself who’s cooking them and tweeting about it along the way.   On another tangent, earlier this year Nico Rosberg ran into trouble at passport control when someone had hilariously replaced his photo with one of Britney (that’s his nickname) – again, much more hilarity, and you’d only know about it if you follow him on Twitter…

What happened to your driver? – You follow a driver further down the field, or maybe want to know happened when say Adrian Sutil pulls off the track – if it happened while the leaders were pitting, chances are you won’t get to find out immediately via the TV coverage, check Twitter and you’ll see that the Force India team have tweeted to say his tyre de-laminated and he couldn’t make it back to the pits and there you go, you’re enlightened.

Chat to other F1 fans – when there isn’t a BadgerGP Bash on, chances are you’ll be watching the grand prix on your own or with a few friends on the sofa – compared to say when you’re in the pub watching football.  Why should you be doing this when F1 has reportedly one of the largest fan bases of any sport?  You guessed it, Twitter helps you realise this and before you know it you can be discussing anything F1 with other people all over the planet and others may jump in too – maybe even an F1 team boss to set the record straight.

Possible news and rumours – people love rumours, hearing about the possibility that Yamamoto may secure a drive at Ferrari in 2012 for example (no, we really did make that one up) but Twitter is great for learning about rumours or at least enjoying hte rumour mill.  People on Twitter knew months ago that Pastor Maldonado was to take a seat at Williams, it was only announced officially in November…

Brilliant competitions – being that Twitter is great for interaction, means many folk use it for competitions, what more reason do you need to sign up to this free service!?  By following BadgerGP, we’ll give you a heads up on any competitions worth entering…

Custom searches – we don’t want to get too techie on you, but as well as following your favourite drivers and your mum on Twitter, you can also do searches, e.g. search for BadgerGP and not only will you see our tweets but also anything anyone is saying about or to us, try the same for F1 or your favourite team – you could search for Toro Rosso and find someone who’s just been to their factory and written about it – how else would you find that?

Our recommended Tweeters

There are absolutely loads of official F1 people worth following from teams, to drivers, to bosses to reporters, here are Badger’s faves –

  • @VirginRacing – mainly by their tech PR chap, Geoff who provides loads of interesting info and not afraid to tweet back to you with answers to your questions.
  • @JakeHumphreyF1 – yep, the bloke anchors the BBC coverage here in the UK has thousands of followers, for a good reason, he’s fab!
  • @5LiveF1 – the folks behind the great radio commentary also Tweet and tell you more than you ever thought possible about life behind the scenes of F1 media
  • @tabathavalls – she’s lovely and she’s the HRT press lady, well worth following
  • @ScarbsF1 – seemingly knows everything and more about F1’s technical matters and news
  • @NobleF1 – Jonathan Noble, one of Autosport’s main journalists always lets you know about the latest news
  • @MyLotusRacing – brilliant tweets from a brilliant team who really embrace Twitter
  • @theFifthDriver – the McLaren bods prove even they aren’t too corporate for Twitter
  • @redbullF1spy – a must for any Red Bull Racing fan, great insider knowledge and comment

Don’t be offended if you’re not on the list, Badger will be compiling it’s ultimate list later this month – these are our current faves…

Our Recommended Fan Tweeters

  • @alexjsnell – known as the ‘superfan’ he followed F1 to every race in 2010 and became great friends with most of the paddock
  • @lookingspiffy – die-hard Felipe fan and always up for banter on Twitter
  • @mike_griffin_f1 – comes with a strong language warning, but he knows a lot and is even writing a book about F1 2000 – 2009
  • @calmbanana – seems to love anyone in a RBR outfit 🙂
  • @engyles – loves F1, loves Timo Glock, loads of fun!
  • @rachelclarkef1 – another friend of F1 who knows more about Twitter than most of us put together
  • @RBgivesyouwings – RBR fan and full of great comment and fun
  • @RubberGoat – massive F1 fan, who knows more about the numbers and stats than anyone on the planet…

There are so much more of you, it’s crazy, we’d be here all night – we love you all though 🙂

FOLLOW BADGER!

Finally, if you aren’t already, follow BadgerGP on Twitter – we’re fast approaching the 3000 followers mark and are immensely proud of ourselves.  You can also follow a couple of Badger’s writers – @JimmyVonWeeks and @TessaTarossa By following Badger, your Twitter experience will be sorted – don’t forget to say hello!

LISTS OF TWITTER PEOPLE

So you have our brief lists of favourite F1 folk and F1 fans to get you started on Twitter, there’s a complete list of people to follow, over on our Twitter page here:

If we’ve missed someone who you think is well worth following on Twitter, let us know in the comments below oh and as a disclaimer, we’re still getting to grips with this ‘list’ feature of Twitter and have plenty more names to add… again, let us know of more in the comments below…