Editorial: Going Social

Paul Carruthers | August 28, 2013

The key word in social media is probably more social than it is media. So looking at the rankings for the Hookit Athlete Index for the month of July isn’t that surprising. The motorcycle racers who have a personality, perhaps even a little wit, and are active on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram rank higher on the Hookit Index (www.hookit.com) than those who lack personality and/or don’t give a crap about what filter to use on their latest Instagram photo. Then there are those who fall in between: Riders who are trying to delve in the realm of social media but struggle with it – mainly because they may likely lack social skills to begin with.

But one thing is certain: Popularity in social media doesn’t always translate to success on the racetrack. But it may end up going a long way toward keeping some riders employed – and perhaps the opposite if they lack self control.

The numbers some of these riders generate in the Hookit Athlete Index – a tool that allows athletes, fans, brands and the industry to follow (in real time) just how much exposure and influence a racer is worth – are impressive. And definitely worth looking at. The Hookit Index tracks such things as followers, likes, comments, mentions and re-Tweets on social network platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Hookit. Points are given for every interaction and are broken into two categories for each social site: Exposure and Engagement.

So who ranks where? Put it this way, if Howard Stern refers to himself as the King Of All Media, then the King Of Social Media, according to the Hookit Index is… skateboarder, promoter and TV star Rob Dyrdek who has an Index of 3,158,926. Impressive.

But back to motorcycle racing. The number-one ranked motorcycle racer in the All Sports category shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s Valentino Rossi, the multi-time World Champion ranking eighth overall with an index of 1,609,570. Next up for motorcycle racers is Jorge Lorenzo at number 11; then comes MotoGP phenom Marc Marquez. All three of them obviously have global appeal and all three are highly active in social media.

The number-one ranked motocrosser in the index came as a surprise to me, though it really shouldn’t have. It’s Ken Roczen, another with global appeal since he’s German, won a World Championship and now competes for championships in the U.S. He’s also entertaining on his social media feeds, and doesn’t seem to hold back or censor himself too much. So, in turn, his feeds are something you want to follow because they entertain you.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.