Haslett, MI - As we look at the last 20 years of communication transformation, most are amazed. Communication amongst snowmobilers has changed forever and it appears the evolution will continue. The snowmobile manufacturers and many in the industry are now active on the Internet with active websites, Facebook and Twitter. The technology makes the passing of news and information more participatory and more social.
This is having a profound effect on our society. As an industry, we will be able to take advantage of this emerging technology in communicating trail conditions, riding conditions, avalanche bulletins, weather forecasts, road conditions and snow conditions, meeting notices and more.
The increased participation in electronic media has lead to a decline in readership of newspapers in North America. However, in other parts of the world, newspaper readership remains very high. Newspaper readership in North America has fallen approximately 30 percent, while in Europe, readership has fallen less than 4 percent. Other parts of the world are realizing a renewed interest and growth in newspaper readership. Understanding the opportunities in communication gives all of us reason to be more involved in compiling and discussing information and news.
The news agenda is no longer controlled by the press barons and specific outlets but now is as participatory as the coffee shops once were. Specific snowmobile and tourism related magazines appear to be thriving when matched with electronic media.
The challenge in all of this new communication access is accountability to make sure the information we use is transparent and factual. Much of the information discussed on the Internet is not fact-based and misinformation needs to be confronted.
These changes give us much to celebrate, so we should all enjoy and embrace it and expand our communications with snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers alike, expressing to them the reasons we enjoy winter recreation and snowmobiling.
The snowmobile manufacturers continue to work on expanding and growing the Go Snowmobiling website www.gosnowmobiling.org. Within two years the active viewership has expanded to more than 3.5 million visitors annually.
The manufacturers also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GoSnowmobiling . It has many friends on its Facebook page and are looking for more. The association is finding that people throughout the world want to enjoy the winter and the great outdoors. Research has shown us the viewers and readers of our information are very interested in snowmobiling. The level of interest continues to be very high with those visiting the websites. A majority of people living in the snowbelt area, have expressed a high desire to go snowmobiling, rating their interest a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. We know many individuals are visiting our websites and reading our information; therefore we need to keep our web site up to date, honest and entertaining.
It is important we understand that, as a snowmobile community, we offer "unique" information that is not readily available. We offer a form of recreation that is unmatched and exciting. We have a great opportunity to express to other interested folks the reasons we snowmobile are quite simple:
- To view the scenery
- To be with friends
- To get away from the usual demands of life
- To do something with our family and friends
- To be close to nature
- To participate in an active, exciting activity that ensures we will be tired at the end of the day and will be able to experience a great night's sleep.