Featured Article: Trucker network

Misty Bell | April 01, 2010

Trucker network

coverAn over-the-road guide to the social media landscape

When Arrow Trucking folded in December, one of the first and most organized efforts to assist the drivers stranded across the country with Christmas fast approaching was a Facebook group called “Support for Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers — Coordinate Efforts Here.”

More than 7,500 people — nearly twice the number of trucks Arrow Trucking had running at the time of its closure — joined the group in an effort to get these drivers home for Christmas. The page’s “wall,” a message board where group members can post messages for the rest of the group to see, filled with people offering rides and passing along information for drivers stranded in various locales.The Truckers News Facebook and Twitter pages were flooded with drivers posting information, links to Web pages offering assistance and stories of those trying to find a way home.

In many ways, the situation with Arrow Trucking demonstrated the power of the Internet and social networking. Whereas 10 years ago stranded drivers would likely have needed to make multiple phone calls to find a ride or possibly even rely on the kindness of strangers at a truckstop, when the Arrow situation arose, an online community was born instantaneously, made up of drivers and other industry professionals eager to help out however they could. Some companies even immediately took to the online airwaves to offer new jobs.

The quick rise of online communities — via Twitter, Facebook and MySpace, just to name a few platforms — has made the world a smaller place. Many within the trucking industry have used this to their advantage, from companies recruiting on Twitter to drivers bringing attention to industry hot topics through Facebook groups.

Following find a few of the folks who have used social networking to create an ever-expanding online trucking community.

Beginner’s Guide to Social Media

For those unversed in social media but interested in learning more, here are a few terms that might come in handy.

Blog: Short for “Web log.” An online journal that is chronological and frequently includes links to other sites. Can cover a variety of topics from personal thoughts to news to entertainment and more.

Twitter: A website that allows registered users to “microblog,” or post notes to the Web that are 140 characters or less in length, optimized for use with mobile phones. Users can follow other users and see those users’ “tweets” in a reverse chronological timeline.

Facebook: A website where users can interact through personal profiles. Users can become fans of products, people and services; join groups based on mutual interest; play games; participate in online chat; send e-mails via Facebook’s messaging system; and more.

YouTube: A video-sharing site. Users do not have to be registered to view videos but must sign in to upload.

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