Technology is a crazy thing, and so it came to be that during an interview with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Wednesday, we were interrupted by a live Facebook broadcast.
As it turned out, Hendrick Motorsports was live-streaming all of its Media Day activities right on its Facebook page. This included roving reporter Sean Pragano, who had a camera crew with him.
When Pragano approached, he began with a simple question: "Hello, @jeff_gluck. Are you trying to get Dale onto Twitter?"
I'm not too quick on my feet when it comes to TV stuff (that's why I'm a writer), but I managed to mutter, "That's impossible..."
Earnhardt Jr. kindly steered me in the direction of a sponsor plug – in this case for my employer – and said, "Yeah, but you're on SB...what's it called?"
"SB Nation," I said helpfully.
"Yeah, SB Nation," Earnhardt Jr. said.
Pragano told us more about the live Facebook broadcast and said he and those watching at home were going to listen in on some of our interview.
Again, Earnhardt Jr. came to the rescue.
"Well, you can't listen in," he told Pragano, "because then people won't go read the story."
That's exactly right! This is a business that relies on page views. I wanted to high-five the guy. But for some reason, I threw him under the bus instead.
"Facebook people, what can we do to get Dale Jr. on Twitter?" I asked, putting him on the spot.
"I'm not saying I'll never do it, but not today," he said. "Probably not tomorrow."
"You guys need to write in and tell him this: He doesn't have to do it every day," I said, then turned back to the driver. "Even if you did it once a week..."
"I know...I know!" he said with the tone of a dude being nagged by his wife.
"Maybe like one tweet?" Pragano said.
"No!" Earnhardt Jr. said. "Why one!?"
I sensed there was a small chance we could wear him down, so I kept going.
"Even Mark Martin joined this week," I said.
"That's good," Earnhardt Jr. said dismissively. "Good for him."
Maybe it was a lost cause after all. In fact, that was becoming pretty clear. And Earnhardt Jr. had been saying for the past few years that he has no interest in Twitter (Here's his reasoning in both 2010 and 2011).
Still, this was a live broadcast, and so I stood my ground in hopes of saving some face.
"Tweet me and let me know why Dale Jr. should join Twitter," I said into the camera.
Earnhardt Jr. seemed to realize the only way to end the conversation was to pretend as though there was a chance.
"Yeah, give Jeff some creative ideas on why I would enjoy it," he said. "That's what I want to know. Tell me that."
Aha! Momentum! I seized it.
"They could do a top 10 reasons why you should join Twitter," I said.
"No, not why I should join it," he said. "I've heard that a million times. But what would I like about it?"
"Oh. I don't know," I replied. "I don't think you would like it. I think they would like it."
He didn't like that logic.
"I want to enjoy it!" he said. "What the heck?!"
So there you have it. Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. become Twitter's @DaleJr? It's highly doubtful.
But perhaps you, dear readers, have better suggestions for what he'd like about it than I do. In case you do, leave them in the comments section below.
If we get enough good responses, I'll print out this page and try to pass it to the future @DaleJr at Daytona.