Saturday, May 03, 2008

Twitter Me This

No Twitter running off the Rails discussion tonight. One reason I write about Twitter is because I really value the service.  It was particularly useful to me today.

I took my oldest son, Michael, Jr. to Maker Faire today. We left right after lunch. I set Twitter to deliver messages via IM, which for me means Google Talk. I have a Google Talk client on my Blackberry, so all updates went to my phone via IM. I did a "track #makerfaire". Just as I was about to hit the road I see tweet saying how bad traffic was on the 101 near San Mateo, where Maker Faire takes place. I also see a tweet saying the best way to avoid the street traffic was to take the Hillsdale Blvd. exit to Saratoga Drive, where there is free parking. These were not tweets from people I follow, but from people going to Maker Faire, and they were right on. So I took 280 to 92 instead of 101, and used the Hillsdale Blvd tip to find free parking. I got to see a parking lot on the freeway near the San Mateo fairgrounds, as well as on Delaware Avenue (where most people got off the freeway) getting onto Saratoga Drive. I did not have to deal with any of that traffic. Thank you Twitter!

Not long after I got home from Maker Faire, I checked Twitter and saw the first mention of Microsoft withdrawing their bid for Yahoo. I had turned off my Blackberry setup, but immediately change my settings back to IM and turned on iChat on my MacBook. I did this so I could track Yahoo and Microsoft on Twitter. All I can say is ... wow. It was amazing to watch the collective conscious of ... well at least Silicon Valley ... react to such surprising news. Now I'm not going to exaggerate, most of the tweets were redundant and few had any particular insight. That is not the point. Crowd sourcing may be great for traffic info, but not business and technology analysis (just ask a communist survivor!) But it is fun to see how some people were relieved, while others were disappointed because they knew that YHOO stock was doomed to plummet on Monday. 

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