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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Inside (Twitter) Post

Got an email from the NYRA marketing department today, subject line: ANDY SERLING TWITTER SITE LAUNCHES.

Well, it's a slow time for NYRA now as we've noted. They're pushing it pretty hard though; in fact, and even have a new web ad that they've sent out.

“Andy Serling is the perfect person to engage racing fans on Twitter,” said Dan Silver, NYRA director of communications and media relations. “His brash personality and sharp wit are well suited to keeping people informed and entertained throughout the day.”
Well, I dunno, I mean, you know how I feel about Twitter. And it just seems to me that qualities like brash personality and sharp wit are better suited to a format in which posts are not limited to 140 characters, and the writer actually has a chance to display those qualities. Not to say that he won't get some good snark off - though on Wednesday he said he was being nice because it was his first day. (He was kinda wrong about Lisa B, who got third at 9-1.)

Besides, as with every good public handicapper, the devil is in the details, and Serling is at his best in his current full-time gig on the in-house broadcast, and at the morning sessions at Siro's where he has a forum to explain and expand on his reasoning for liking a particular horse or offering to book any sucker stupid enough to bet it.
Want to bet Officer Flirt but hate taking the devalued odds on entries. Still, at the current 6:1 I am in.
Well, why? I don't care who it is, I don't bet horses solely on anyone's say-so, unless he/she is holding an AK-47 or a boombox playing Billy Joel's Greatest Hits.

Later in the day, I got a note about a new blog at the Racing Form called The Inside Post. It's a group live blog featuring the writers who cover the various tracks - Dave Litfin at Belmont, Marcus Hersh at Arlington, Kenny Peck at Monmouth, and it's still going tonight from Woodbine. Without the text restrictions, they can provide in-depth commentary on the races, and do a little handicapping too.

Now, I don't want to volunteer Andy Serling for any extra duties, but why wouldn't NYRA just have him do a live blog instead? I mean, I thought the whole thing about Twitter was that you could do it with your mobile device from anywhere, at anytime, like at the track or at a concert so you can tell everyone else what you're doing instead of paying attention to the event at hand? So unless NYRA can't afford to get the guy a laptop, I don't see why he would be limited to's not like I ever see him doing the paddock inspection thing. If they're trying to get to the Twitter crowd, they can do what the Form has done with its blog, and have a Twitter page with
opening blurbs and a tiny link to each post.

And here's another thing I think is stupid about Twitter. Take an active Twitter-er like this blogger. On her Twitter page, most of the entries are responses to things that other people tweeted, things like LOL, poor guy. And what did the package go for? Seriously, no offense, I just don't understand, why would anyone want to read that? You mean, I should go through all of the other inane Twitter pages to find the other part of the conversation? It's like listening to someone talk on a cellphone...a device which, by the way, still serves me very well.

- Got a second press release from NYRA, and I have to say that I'm more enthusiastic about this one, entitled COLLEGE STUDENTS MAKE THE GRADE AT SARATOGA RACE COURSE.
All students will receive free grandstand admission with a valid college ID. The first 1,000 students also receive a free commemorative Saratoga Race Course t-shirt.

Once in the gate, students will be invited to register to win a variety of great prizes such as iPods, iTunes gift cards, digital cameras, a $250 airline gift card and the grand prize, $1,000 toward college tuition awarded at the end of every race, courtesy of NYRA.

"We are excited to provide our college students with a reason to visit Saratoga before heading back to school," said NYRA Executive Vice President and COO Hal Handel. "We look forward to offering them the chance to win scholarship money as well as a number of other great prizes, and we'd like to wish all of them good luck with the new school year."
Well, the hell with the new school year, Handel really would like to wish that at least some of them have a great day and come back again next year. In fact, if any of them flunk out, maybe they'll even make their way to Aqueduct.


o_crunk said...

Oh boy...I'll say it again. For a guy who says he can't stand Twitter, you spend an awful amount of time trolling around on it. Just get an account already and maybe the conversations you're trying to follow will start to make some more sense.

Gotta say though, you have a point on Serling. IMHO, I've seen this dude's posting around other message boards and his edge is way too sharp (and I don't mean handicapping edge!). Can't wait to see his response when someone disagrees with him on Twitter. Not that he would know - he's not following anyone. Perhaps that's the way he likes to "conversate" - one way only.

El Angelo said...

You don't necessarily need a laptop to do a blog--I've done it on my iphone many times.

Kevin Stafford said...

I was late to the Twitter party as well, and a tad skeptical at first, but I must say, it is nice for flowing conversation with folks.

I think you're right that Serling would benefit by doing full write-ups and twitting quick thoughts with "tiny URL" links back to them - but I've got to admit that whenever I do that (which is frequent), I worry that I appear to be a self-centered spammmer.

I absolutely LOVE seeing folks picks in the minutes leading up to a race. It shouldn't take away from the actual experience itself (which it can, if you're an internet addict and constantly hitting "refresh" every 5 seconds...which yes, I admit I've done), and can enhance the experience overall.

Seriously - give it a whirl, as O_Crunk says (who, coincidentally, is one of my FAVORITE folks to read on twitter).

It just might convert you into a "tweeter" as well. :-)

Alan Mann said...

>>Seriously - give it a whirl, as O_Crunk says (who, coincidentally, is one of my FAVORITE folks to read on twitter).

Do you think I'd need to buy Twitter For Dummies, or that I can figure it out myself? :-)

Teresa said...

Agree with those who came before: Twitter makes much more sense when you see the thread of the conversation. As in all other things technological, I was a late adopter and major skeptic, and while I have mixed feelings about its overall usefulness, at its best, it's informative, diversionary, entertaining. At its worst? Narcissistic garbage.

And if you follow Dana, you'll get some awesome, high-paying, post parade handicapping!

Patrick J Patten said...

Even an old guy like you, you remember the Rangers first Stanley Cup right?, would figure it out pretty quick.

El Angelo said...

If everyone's reading the same twitter posts re post parade comments, barn information, etc., won't that just kill the price on those horses commensurately?

dana said...

I file this under "everything is not for everyone" and agree that straight up reading someone's twitter page is usually annoying.

Your listening to someone else on the phone analogy is right on. Some people use twitter in "broadcast" mode, meaning they don't interact with anyone, and those pages are inherently easier to read. But, it's a different experience to have an account and follow people, which makes it easier to see conversations as they unfold, not to mention take part in them. (Something I think you can handle :)

I agree wholeheartedly with Kevin that it's extremely fun to 'watch races' with folks on Twitter (which I only do from home) and even though I touted Rail Trip, it didn't kill my price!

I'd love to see Serling have a blog in addition to being on Twitter. Sure he can't elaborate on his thoughts too much at 140 characters but he already has at least one forum to do that. Seems as though he read your post as his stuff has a little more insight today. But I agree with o_crunk re: Serling following people and taking part in conversation, now that would be fun!

Is there inanity on Twitter? By the boat load, but there's inanity everywhere. Thanks for the links, even though I was the example why Twitter is inane!

Jim said...

If you just jump on Twitter and take a snapshot, it doesn't look like much. But like was stated previously, you have to look at the threads and follow them. Then it will make sense.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I will pass on tweeting.

I prefer to actually hang out with fellow handicappers and exchange thoughts via a medium called speech.

Old fashioned I know but I find speaking to be the most efficient method of communication that has served us well for many years.

Dana, nice pick with Rail Trip, but the key word in your post is "kill" as in "it didnt kill my price".

If one person bet the horse because of your tweet it reduced your return, so while it did not kill the price it most certainly effected the odds.

I appreciate your attempt to share the information, it is very generous of you, but a serious gambler would never give out information to the world so therefore I would be immediately skeptical of anything I noticed in a tweet.

dana said...

Question to Anon 8:47am, when you hang out with fellow handicappers and engage in speech, would say something like "I like Rail Trip here" or "I think Rail Trip looks good in the parade". And if you would, and one of your fellow handicappers also wagered on Rail Trip, wouldn't it be same thing? Does that make you any less serious?

I see your point and don't consider myself a "serious gambler" (yet anyway, and if I did I would be more judicious about what said I said on Twitter), but I doubt that anyone made that play based on my digital utterance approximately 1 MTP.

Also, I was addressing El Angelo's question:

"won't that just kill the price on those horses commensurately".

But I'm glad you made yourself feel better by pronuncing that you're somehow better than anyone on Twitter because you engage in the same activity in person.

Anonymous said...

Dana, sorry no offense intended.

Yes, it would effect my price if one of my buddies bet the horse I commented on, so you are correct.

But if horse came in a friend of mine would have cashed a ticket which would make me happy, and they would probably buy me a drink, which would likely make up for any reduction in winnings.

I am just a cranky old man that does not get the twitter thing I guess, does not mean there is anything wrong with it, just me being my cranky self.

In any much success going forward, I hope you do well enough that you do involve into a serious player as the game certainly needs as many as it can attract.

Perhaps twitter can bring some more players to the game, in which case your efforts are well appreciated.

dana said...

Cranky Anon- thanks for the clarification, as a fellow crank I understand.

The upside, at least for me, when I'm lucky to mention an overlay that 1) I actually play and 2) wins, is the "bragging rights" aspect or at least looking like I know what I'm doing :)

I think new players could learn a lot from following Serling. Seeing a serious handicapper deliberate and make choices in "real time" is really instructive as that aspect can be so overwhelming at first.

At any rate, good luck to everyone this weekend!

Anonymous said...

send above to Andy Serling for his analysis comments etc