Digital Revolution Makes Information Available Anytime, Anywhere - Tire Review Magazine

Digital Revolution Makes Information Available Anytime, Anywhere

About two years ago, I made the big leap into the 21st century new media by buying an iPod. 

At the time, I was driving about 1,000 miles per week – and I thought the novelty of listening to my album collection without having to lug a couple hundred CDs with me in the car was a good thing. 

I was wrong. It was a great thing.

Not only was it nice to have an entire music collection on one small device, but I also discovered an entire world on iTunes I had no idea existed up to that point. I was completely in the dark on the technology, and after dipping my toe into the cool, clear waters of the 99-cent song, I branched out into podcasts.

Podcasts are very similar to radio shows, but without commercials – at least, not many – and offer a level of portability and pinpoint marketing that terrestrial or satellite radio cannot. Some podcasts are bookended by pleas for financial assistance, but the trade-offs of sitting through a few seconds of self-promotion are worth it. 

There are literally millions of podcasts available online, and according to the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, corporate social media use grew 14% in 2009. 

In fact, the digital revolution has made its way into so many living rooms, studios and companies around the world – not to mention cars, workout centers, walking trails, and school campuses – that it only takes a microphone and an Internet connection to post your own podcast. 

This is all excellent news for tire dealers and tire customers. Already, social media applications such as podcasts allow for access to motorsport news, race team updates and product service and support. 

The Automotive Educators’ Podcast offers listeners a weekly show about the art of teaching automotive technology. This particular podcast features current news, events and trends in the automotive education industry. 

High Speed Stuff’s podcast hits on all cylinders, taking time to explain things like what makes a two-stroke engine different from other engines. “Is mpg the best way to measure fuel efficiency?” was a recent topic on the accompanying blog, as are themes such as how motorsports works, how the Indy 500 works, and how auto manufacturers design their products. 

These are all interesting general automotive topics, but dig a bit deeper, and you’ll find podcasts and apps available for very specialized topics. 

CNET’s Car Tech Live podcast re­views OEMs, giving listeners an up-close viewpoint on the ups and downs of the auto industry. Hubgar­ reviews the best automotive shops in the country on its podcast, Top Shops, and Speed has a plethora of HP and racing features.

There’s even a smartphone app available to assist in 4- and 2-wheel vehicle alignments with step-by-step instructions on how to use the alignment machine. More and more vendors are turning to podcasts and new media as a demonstration and teaching tool. 

Dig even deeper and you’ll find that companies such as Haynes, the automotive service manual folks, have a podcast specializing in car repair. Tool Monger has a popular tool-based podcast for technicians called Tool Talk, and Dunlop has entered the fray with a podcast dedicated to its product. 

Toyo is another pioneer in the new media marketplace with its new iPhone/iPod Touch application fitment guide that allows dealers and customers to have ready access to Toyo’s complete fitment guide at their fingertips. Trick.

Speaking of instruction, go to You-Tube and do a random search on virtually any vehicle service job. Need to replace a heater core on an Exped-ition? There’s a step-by-step video that walks even the most novice tech through the entire procedure.

 New media is not going to go quietly into the night. According to the Dartmouth study, a full 75% of res-pondents claimed to be “very familiar” with social networking, and 62% said they were familiar with Twitter, the popular microblogging site. 

On the corporate side, 52% of Inc. 500 companies actively use Twitter and other social networking tools in day-to-day business.

 Dartmouth’s research showed that new media are being adopted rapidly. Tire dealers can take advantage of this tidal wave of electronic information by staying on top of their product lines, learning what the market has to say about brands and products, and staying abreast of the latest motorsport, product and tool training.

A whole new world of training and product education is out there for the taking – all it takes is some time and a good Internet connection.

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