Twittering traffic

Some news organizations have used the microblog site Twitter in the past to send updates about breaking news stories like the Minneapolis bridge collapse and the California wildfires. Now the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is “twittering” in a slightly different way about a local highway construction project. The paper has recruited a “twitter team” of commuters, only a few of whom work for the newspaper, to cover the shutdown of Highway 40 and its effect on traffic. The result is a stream of very short comments that range from useful to silly. Examples:

40 E is a parking lot from lindburgh to the city

Drove to work today, because carrying brownies on the metro is tacky. Traffic actually wasn’t terrible.

A lady just stuck her tounge (sic) out @ me after not letting me merge

You can see how getting some of this information in real time could be helpful, but if most comments are like the last two, it wouldn’t surprise me if drivers wind up being frustrated with both the traffic and the newspaper. We’d love to know how it all shakes out.

One Response

  1. Thanks for the blog item about our project. I consider it a success because we had a fairly large number of followers for our first Twitter effort and because it added another dimension to our coverage of the shutdown. It really was designed to be complementary; we had a source for real-time traffic updates. Our charge to our “twitter team” was to provide news, yes, but also anecdotes and personal observations. Thanks again.

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