NASCAR Phoenix 2014: Dale Earnhardt Jr. loves Twitter, embraces fan interaction

Jonathan Ferrey

Dale Jr. is still a Twitter newbie, but he loves it so much he wishes he had begun tweeting sooner.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has only been active on Twitter for less than a week, but in a short amount of time he has embraced the social media platform.

"It's been fun to interact with the fans. ... It's fun, it's really fun," Earnhardt said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. "I don't know what I was thinking why I didn't get on there earlier because it's a great way to tell people things you appreciate. It's instant."

Earnhardt posted his first tweet shortly after winning Sunday's Daytona 500, and has posted a total of 127 times in the five days since.

As he traveled around the country taking part in a national media tour, Earnhardt conducted a question-and-answer session with fans while on a plane to Austin, Texas.  He also has frequently shared photos with his more than 526,000 followers -- including asking suggestions on what style socks he should wear.

That he has taken to Twitter is not a surprise as Earnhardt considers himself a pretty savvy when it comes to technology, and has spoke openly about his eBay and Amazon addictions. Helping him learn the nuances of Twitter is girlfriend Amy Reimann and his team of public relations representatives. Earnhardt compared trying to keep track of his Twitter mentions to reading the abundance of fan mail he regularly receives.

"There is a lot of great information and a lot of great comments, just trying to read them all," Earnhardt said. "It's just a lot coming at you and you want to take it all in and you don't want to miss anything. I've got a lot to learn."

Many people within the NASCAR community have been trying to pressure Earnhardt to join Twitter, including Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.

"There have been a lot of people involved on social media -- even people from Twitter -- who have put pressure on him and have come to me to put pressure on him over the years," Johnson said. "It just wasn't something he was interested in. As sharp as he is and as much time as he spends in the digital world, I knew that when he got involved that he would love it and it would work well for him."

One thing Johnson did to persuade Earnhardt was explain the benefits of Twitter. Specifically, how fans can relate and identify with him better, and the enhanced impact he can have for his sponsors. And now that Earnhardt has signed on, Johnson isn't shocked at how quickly Earnhardt has acclimated himself.

"He must have been watching from afar for awhile," Johnson said. "He has the lingo down and is tagging people and replying to people pretty well. He didn't enter as a rookie on Twitter in my opinion. He is off to a pretty strong start."

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