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March 19, 2009

Expanding the bubble of presence

Share photos on twitter with TwitpicGLOBAL – I’ve been following Lance Armstrong on Twitter for a while now and it’s really making me think about how all this stuff is changing the way we interact. I was excited at first, sure. I was listening in, back in the day, when Lance announced he had cancer in a global press call (in a previous life I worked on Cycling Weekly magazine). Ever since I’ve been pretty obsessed, particularly with his spectacular recovery and subsequent success. But Lance has once again stepped beyond everyone else in his latest endeavor. His adoption of Twitter.

In about five months from now Lance will be battling for his eight Tour de France victory – an unprecedented achievement. What’s more, he’s come out of retirement to do this. But yesterday, he was posting pictures (see above) of him on a training ride in the South of France. And it’s this that gets me most excited. Not only is Lance letting us in on what he’s doing day to day through Twitter, he’s actually bringing us along for the ride. That pic was posted shortly after it was shot. By the time I got to see it, Lance was on his way down the other side of the Col de la Madone.

He’s able to do this because the tools are there to do it. He has a phone (a BlackBerry, if you’re asking) and he has a Twitter account. He also has 335k followers (more than my other favourite, Stephen Fry!). That’s almost 10 times the circulation of the magazine I used to work on. Last time I checked that single image above had 25 comments.

Although I’ve never actually met him, I suspect Lance has huge personal presence. With these tools he’s taking that and making it even bigger, expanding it, if you will (props to Charlie for the headline). He’s offering a level of engagement that, like his potential victory in July, is utterly unprecedented. And I applaud him for it. He’s showing us what a phone, the Internet and a little effort can achieve together.

If you’re not one of the 335k+ followers already, I suggest you start following Lance Armstrong now. It’s going to be one hell of a ride!