@neilroad And 140 Characters

Neil Browne alerts all who follow him on Twitter, “WARNING: requires a sense of humor.” That is the essence of his Twitter feed. Browne, a former editorial director of a national cycling magazine, now a free lance journalist and founder of Carolina Cycling News, disseminates information and humor daily…if not hourly.

“I got into Twitter really early,” commented Browne. “If you look at my Twitter account I am something like 20,000th person to start tweeting. For me it came pretty easy because I could be a smart ass. I can post these little zingers. 140 characters did not limit me. I didn’t need to write up a long set up joke. I have a bit of a sense of humor which works on Twitter. I was fascinated by how quickly I can get information out to people.”

Neil Browne’s Twitter Avatar

Twitter is a real time social networking site, a place for sharing information as it happens and for connecting with others in real time.

“Interaction is the key to Twitter,” continued Browne. “I try to interact as much as I can. I can’t answer every question or comment, but I do try. I just looked at my stuff now and some guy is asking me a legal question. I am not a lawyer. I am a smartass. He asked about suing for defamation. I don’t know. I make poop jokes and I talk about squirrels.”

“There is connection between Twitter and my work. I can honestly say that Twitter has got me jobs in the past. People read my stuff and like my writing style. It’s kind of been an ongoing resume for me. Twitter keeps my name out there. It helped me get my niche in cycling. There are many here who are good sports journalists. It helps to separate yourself from the crowd. Twitter definitely helped me separate myself and inject some humor. I am mildly entertaining guy. I like to interject that into the sport as much as I can.”

Quite unexpectedly a few weeks ago Browne’s brief encounter with Lance Armstrong had the cycling Twitter feeds buzzing. It appears Armstrong did not share Browne’s witty sense of humor. The following feed is but a sample of the tweets:

@neilroad: Find out why @LanceArmstrong blocked me. Download the Browne Eye app for Apple & Android http://bit.ly/cA32Pj

@neilroad: Whoaa! A reach from the man himself! Secret stalker! RT @lancearmstrong: @neilroad maybe cuz you’re a complete douchebag.

@neilroad: Hey @LanceArmstrong now that I have your attention – why did you block @JeffVolkmer? He’s a nice enough guy

@neilroad: Wow…what started with a Twitter battle between me & Landis turned into a Twitter battle with @LanceArmstrong too!

@neilroad: So @LanceArmstrong you won’t be downloading my app?

@neilroad: Whoa…I just found out I’m the reason why the sport isn’t taken seriously! Cue dramatic prairie dog http://bit.ly/lpllPM

@neilroad: I sincerely apologize for my past actions in this open letter to everyone. #Iruinedcycling http://bit.ly/m5Cptr

@neilroad: Hey @LanceArmstrong – Can I get a quote from you regarding upcoming 60 Minute segment? Thx!

@neilroad: Weird, no reply this time…usually he’s really good at getting back to me…

The tweets lead to Browne being accused of destroying cycling.

“I am really not sure where the ‘I destroyed cycling’ began,” said Browne. “I guess some people just don’t enjoy my sense of humor. Some were saying I was destroying cycling with my 6,500 followers. Silly to think that I was bringing down a sport that is over 100 years old. If I could do that….then the sport is really bad shape. I don’t think the sport is in that bad a shape. I don’t think it’s good right now but my Twitter account is not going to bring cycling down. In my letter of apology, Bill Strickland, editor of Bicycling Magazine, stated he enjoyed my humor. I know that I am not for everyone.”

“I am going to keep doing what I am doing….keep being a douche bag. People do enjoy my douche-ness. I even thought of getting hats and tee shirts saying that I ruined cycling. I had followers who started using the #neilruinedcycling hash tag.”

The unfortunate side affect of having Armstrong’s disapproval is having NBC Sports/Versus relieve Browne of his writing assignment.

@neilroad: @UCI_Overlord @flammecast Don’t work for NBC/Versus. After Armstrong called me douchebag NBC decided not to re… (cont) http://deck.ly/~ChTZK

@neilroad: @mbibbey I no longer represent NBC Sports & I hope this sparks some internal conversations there

“I don’t take Twitter too seriously. For goodness sake…it’s just Twitter. It’s really one step up from passing notes in third grade…or third period in middle school. Some of it is shtick but there are some facts in my posts…especially when I am staring at the squirrels. I can stare at squirrels all day. My office is at home and I have a tree and there are these squirrels. It’s like watching fish for me. I can watch the squirrels run up a tree…they are doing squirrel stuff…it’s gotta be pretty kick ass. I like that.”

Browne simply gets social media. He understands and embraces it’s power. Cycling is better because there are journalists like Browne, who share their unique take on the sport with humor and intelligent writing.

“I’m a big deal in the road bike industry”…a phrase that Neil Browne did not invent but he most definitely owns.

Classic Neil-isms:

@neilroad: I demand an apology from Oprah. That final show sucked #OprahRuinedtalkshows

@neilroad: The Pope is anti piercings and adornment of teeth? Who knew?

@neilroad: If I could cover just 1 song it would be Joy Division’s “Love will tear us apart”. 2nd song – Beyonce “Put a ring on it”

@neilroad: Oh hell ya! Got keys to @PodiumInsight ‘s rental car. I’m at Sharkeys on Main St & I’ll race anyone’s team car. #Iruinrentalcars

@neilroad: Oh no! Wrong pronunciation of LEO-Pard – Trek. He needs to put a nickel in the swear jar

@neilroad: The Tour of Colorado has had more name changes than a suburbanite milf

@neilroad: On a random side note: looking into getting a corgi. They have thumbs & can drive

@neilroad: Just upgraded my seat on plane to the emergency row! I decide who lives & dies

@neilroad: That squirrel is back! I will not be intimidated! http://yfrog.com/hsu2lroj

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