Featured Article: Trucker network
“That’s really what it’s all about for me, is really helping all these people that are having so many problems.”
Donna Smith handles the couple’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, including a Twitter account for Ask the Trucker, Facebook fan pages for Truth About Trucking and Ask the Trucker and a personal page for Allen. The couple also created the TRUCKER iPhone application, which was featured in the Exit Only column in Truckers News’ June 2009 issue.
The speed with which a message can spread via social media can be astounding, and in the case of those advocating for the passage of Jason’s Law, this has proven to be advantageous.
Hope Rivenburg, widow of Jason Rivenburg, who was killed in March 2009 due to, many feel, a lack of safe truck parking, has utilized social media in her efforts to see legislation passed to improve the parking situation for drivers. Rivenburg and family members met with United States Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill on April 28 of 2009, but the movement picked up steam when it began to be mentioned on Facebook and Twitter.
Trucker Desiree Wood was one of the proponents of the bill on Twitter. A newspaper story on Virginia rest area closures that Wood was quoted in got more attention than Wood or the writer expected, and Wood subsequently found a link to Jason Rivenburg’s story, which she posted on the newspaper’s website. Then she got to work on Twitter, utilizing her online network to spread the word to residents of Virginia about the proposed rest area closings.
“We just started like a little revolution on Twitter,” Wood says. “Next thing you know, they were calling us, VDOT Media Communications was calling us to be on [Allen and Donna Smith’s Blog Talk Radio show] about it.”
Funnily enough, Hope Rivenburg says it was this radio show that got her on Twitter to begin with. “I believe that night [Wood] was on a talk show, so I quickly created a Twitter page to tell her what was what, and it went from there.”
Rivenburg says the Twitter and Facebook pages that were subsequently started for Jason’s Law have “honestly helped a lot. We’ve gotten a lot more support through the Facebook and the Twitter pages.”
Individual drivers are not the only ones getting in on the social media action. Companies are now using tools like Twitter and Facebook for recruiting and keeping in touch with current drivers. One such company is Con-way.
“We’ve been using both YouTube and Twitter for a long time,” says Con-way Vice President of Communications and Chief Marketing Officer Tom Nightingale. “We use Facebook. We have two blogs, one for our LTL company and one on broader issues of freight, public policy and sustainability, both of which have developed a really nice fan base.”
“We’ve been using both YouTube and Twitter for a long time.”
— Tom Nightingale
Nightingale says the company’s use of social media allows it to be more personable, fun and engaging for its employees and customers. He says the company also uses the YouTube site for recruiting by having “some videos out there that really give you an idea what it’s like [working for us]. We send drivers out on the road with little flash video cameras to record what life’s like on the road.”