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Twitter: A great way to get in the loop and stay in the loop


When I was handed the editorial director’s job of Transportation Media more than 5 years ago, I made two promises to myself, our staff and our readers: First, that the publications in our group (Motortruck Fleet Executive, Truck News, Truck West and Canadian Transportation & Logistics, ) would make every endeavour to reach out to readers in as many innovative ways as possible. And two, that we would evolve into a multi-media company capable of telling a story in the best way for that story to be told. In other words, although the print products would remain our core, we would make every effort to engage our audience in ways that went far beyond that.
That has led us on quite a ride in recent years as we added more and more features to our Web sites (ctl.ca and trucknews.com), published special supplements on key issues, conducted and shared research, spoke at industry events, wrote blogs, produced a weekly Web TV show, put on an annual golf tournament, and organized educational seminars. And from the attention these new ventures have received, it’s clear you believe us to be on the right track.
The next stop on this ride is Twitter. If you are not familiar with this new form of communication, it’s basically technology that allows people to send short (140-characters maximum) updates to anyone who wants to “follow” them.
I have to admit, this new technology left me quite skeptical at first.
To begin with, it suffered from what all these new electronic ventures do: a really stupid name for anyone over the age of 40 (maybe even 30). I mean, how serious does “Twitter” sound to you?
I also wondered why people would want to read short bursts that are the equivalent of a couple of sentences. And to some extent I still think that part is true. If the 140-character update is an update on what someone is having for breakfast, frankly I don’t give a damn and never will. And I doubt any of you would either.
But what if that update was about some breaking news story and provided a link to find out mor
e? What if that 140-character update let you know before anyone else what some important industry person we’ve just interviewed had to say on a key topic? What if it was a heads up that we will be interviewing a key person and that we could pose some of your questions if you send them to us.
It’s a great way to get in the loop and stay in the loop.
As with all new communication tools, I view Twitter as an experiment, but I’m betting you will find it useful. I’ve just started “tweeting” myself (as have Executive editor James Menzies and Managing Editor Adam Ledlow). So far I’ve posted information about a range of topics from what a senior economist had to say about the economic recovery and what Volvo’s president had to say about sustainable transportation to the latest trends on transportation rates and surcharges.
You can find me on twitter.com/LouSmyrlis. I would love to hear from you.


Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis

With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics.
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