Especially over the past week or so, social media has been on my mind. South African Robert Brogan, who runs the African Betting Clan website, introduced me to an exciting filly in Ebony Flyer on Nov. 30 via Facebook; racing photographer/blogger Jamie Newell (on FB and on Twitter as @wowhorse) wrote this post on Twitter on Friday, Dec. 3; Ebony Flyer won the Kenilworth Guineas on Saturday, Dec. 4, and the same night, I had drinks in Brooklyn with one of the racing stars of Twitter, the person known as @o_crunk. Then on Monday, Dec. 6, I wrote this column, “Social Media and the News,” for the Tuesday, Dec. 7, Thoroughbred Times Today zine.
What I didn’t mention in the column but merits comment here is the great democratization that takes place on social media. On Twitter, for example, the person who goes as @o_crunk, a racing fan and gambler, has risen in stature because of what he has to say, period. That he’s not a racing personality—well, he is now, after the fact!—or affiliated with a major news or racing organization didn’t stop his voice from being heard, and that he’s actually engaged such as the New York Times writer Joe Drape (@joedrape) and Thoroughbred Times news editor Ed DeRosa (@ejxd2) in spirited discussions and come out on top has only added to his reputation as a commentator who tells it like it is and one who’s not afraid to take on the establishment.
And, funny thing, as I told @o_crunk the other day, people like him are actually surpassing many “established” members of the racing press who’ve made the decision to stay away from social media, particularly Twitter. Indeed, the Thoroughbred Times conducted a poll recently (results not out yet) and for the question of best on Twitter (and can you believe it that such a question now exists?!), DeRosa, a ubiquitous presence on Twitter himself, publicly declared he’d given the nod to @o_crunk. Now, that’s homage! And the rise of @o_crunk is the Horatio Alger story for the medium.