By Hans Ebert

It’s a bit like “Gremlins” in reverse. Or The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. But very quickly, more and more jockeys have left, or are leaving Twitter.

One top Australian rider now riding in Singapore took his saddle and left the clutter of angry birds almost two years ago. The non-stop torrent of abuse from angry Tweety birds was doing his head in.

Over the past few months, others have left to focus on life in the real world. And winning races.

Sure, every time some new controversy rears its ugly head from the usual destination, the townsfolk start up the handwringing as usual and threaten to storm Le Bastille.

Three days later, there’s peace in the Valley and everyone suffers from shrinkage and retreat to their shells.

It brings up the question of why horse racing needs Twitter or, for that matter, social media?

Do any of these online “delivery platforms” really help expand horse racing’s customer base? Does social media help attract music fans and the millions of acts and celebrities with millions of followers to…horse racing? How? A #hashtag?

Surely, if someone has zero interest in horse racing, why would they want to seek out any information about it- anywhere? Not such a stupid question, Kemo Sabay.

Yet, racing clubs persist in hiring “social media agencies” and mini armies of “social media experts”.

It’s all horribly reminiscent of music companies over a decade ago when MySpace and Napster and then Facebook made their debuts: “Please allow me to introduce myself etc etc.”

Knee jerk reaction took place amongst those at the top and suddenly “traditional” marketing executives had to work alongside “digital experts” who wouldn’t have known Coldplay from Icehouse and Gorillaz from bananas. But because they were poached from tech companies like Yahoo etc, they were seen as “the future of the music industry”. They got the biggest titles, the biggest packages, the biggest offices to match their flatulent titles and were given the “arduous” task of arranging “Digital Days” and Worldwide Digital Conferences.

Executives from every office were flown out for these conferences, always in some six star hotel like The Arts in Barcelona where the Digital Cone Heads spoke a different language using foreign words like uploads, downloads, SEOs, algorithms, data, file sharing etc. Nice, but what about the music? Where did these two very different worlds meet? They didn’t.

Marketing is marketing and soon the Digital Cone Heads were gone. They were just taking up space. Marketing music in the digital space wasn’t exactly something that needed hand-holding. Or Tech Talk.

Of course, no one saw how social media would addict and take over most of the world with Mainland China even having their own delivery platforms for the sharing of news and making online friends.

But, as is being revealed every other day, these numbers-driven businesses are finally being revealed for what they are- very often, nothing but Ponzi schemes and where consumer-generated content help their businesses balloon into IPO proportions and give all those lonely people, somewhere to go with one click to an online world they could belong.

Zuckerberg will leave this mess a very rich man even if Facebook is forced to change direction. Plus he still has Instagram and WhatsApp.

Music streaming sites are starting to drown with even the good ship Spotify having hit more than a few icebergs.

Looking at all this, what exactly is “social media’s” role in horse racing?

As an online dispenser of racing news, Twitter is fine. Can this news be presented more attractively? What do you think?

And while “following” jockeys and horse racing “celebrities” is a personal choice, how is any of this relevant to all those in the online world following, for example, Kendall Jenner? Or Drake? Or videos and gifs of cute cats?

Again one asks, How is horse racing going to expend its current customer base by attracting those who aren’t looking its way?

Being seen on Instagram? But what’s the content to persuade the non-believer to join the party? An “ad”? Please, people.

Here’s the deal: For over a decade every online delivery platform has duped and outsmarted users.

At a time when the cracks in these delivery platforms are starting to show, surely it’s time for some lateral thinking instead of continuing to be sheeples- not being followers, but instead, leading from the front- and with breakthrough thinking that reaches the target consumer with pinpoint accuracy.

This isn’t going to happen with more dollops of the same old same old.

#horseracing #socialmedia #Twitter #Instagram #marketing #musicindustry