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Lance Armstrong Reports on Lance Armstrong; What does it mean for your Brand?

lance and levi after stage 15 — powered by http://www.livestrong.com
Two weeks ago Lance Armstrong stopped talking to the press. Initial reports were that he took this step after being angered over some media reports that he was responsible for a rider protest that occurred in Milan during the Giro D’Italia. But what’s interesting is that he is still talking to his fans, daily. And he is talking to¬† his fans directly through Twitter and his video blog postings without the traditional media.
In Robert Mackey’s article in today’s New York Times Lance Armstrong Covers Lance Armstrong” Mackey writes:
Given his immense fame, and the power of the new media tools he has obviously mastered, Mr. Armstrong is now free to cut out the middle man and go straight to the people.

Ever the competitor, Mr. Armstrong even seems to be enjoying tweaking his new rivals in the press corps, secure in the knowledge that he is scooping them hour after hour as he posts regular updates to his chatty Twitter feed, where he banters with other cyclists, comments on his comeback and even answers questions from some of his more than 933,000 followers.Last week he even took a moment to post this comment on a news report saying that some members of the cycling media had stopped quoting his tweets, in an effort to force him to engage with them:

Bitter sports reporters are boycotting @lancearmstrong’s Tweets. Good luck with that, and welcome to 2009.
Whether you applaud Lance for his media blackout or not what lessons can your brand take from his use of social media to stay in touch with his audience?