A real-time voice: Hack the Debate and Where’s my Gas?

Two really interested things have happened of late around Twitter which has had me discussing Twitter in odd situations. With references in the AJC on a fairly creative use, Twitter may become an inventory management system for the CONSUMER.  Consumer based demand management might be another way to look at it – regardless it could change market the landscape.   The other interesting Twitter advance is the real-time insight into political feedback, not online but integrated with TV for your Mom to see.   Sure Twitter has broken news, provided updates from natural disasters, and even has resulted in the occasional “brand jacking”, but recently it transitioned to being more of an interesting app, now that it has empowered the community to take action, rather than listen to stories, share ideas or just chatting.  Twitter sometimes has been thought of as a built to flip entity, but it may have just found a problem solving niche – not just reducing latency of communication but reducing transactional friction and opportunity costs for consumers and voters alike.

The Consumer Has Access

I recently suffered through the Atlanta gas crisis and had used Twitter to aid in finding out where gas was. This use of Twitter solved a critical need for consumers – where and when can I find fuel for my car.   The real odd thing, is the use of Twitter came up multiple times when I was New York, merely because I was from Atlanta and specifically because of this pragmatic use of the platform.   I spent more time talking about the gas crunch and explaining Twitter with one editor than one would have thought for a guy that blogs, but it made for a nice segue into a community concept which I was there to speak on.

Essentially for many, Twitter has become their main social network or at least more folks are using it now and getting comfortable using it.  Whatever the reality – it’s now main stream stream media and successfully connecting people to solve problems.  With continuous updates and shared experiences some folks were able to get gas just a little quicker and avoid the opportunity costs of trying to find it yourself.   On that concept alone, Twitter appears to be able to produce an ROI.  Not only is there now a way to frame a value prop around that use, it allows consumers to rally around opportunities in the marketplace whatever it may be.  So I wonder what other use cases folks are going to think of.  Could Twitter be used to find out where the latest supply of a cool video game/toy is for Christmas?

Twitter seems well positioned to solve other real consumer problems involving not just presence, but place as it relates to goods or the supply of goods.  People already use Twitter for place for a long time for place – think conferences, but introducing access to goods is a new take.  So if consumers share information on the ability to access services or goods it could significantly influence consumers choices at a local level.

Where do I go tonight for drinks is already being answered by #happyhour so what else could be solved for in the Twitter community?  Perhaps Twitter can effectively manage place, supply/access, precense and quality of experience/managing of opportunity costs.

I wonder what the people are thinking?

I could never see a presidential debate live, not sure I couldn’t react one way or another.   Knowing this about me, I was certainly excited to see the integration of Twitter and TV around the debate.  Twitter’s 140 characters has become an interesting cross channel feedback for not only users, but non-users.  Feedback on a story which just happened for Rick Sanchez or sharing real-time impressions of the debate is no longer visible just to those on Twitter, but also the viewing audience.  The integration of Twitter for Hack the Debate is the most recent melding of community and communication which most folks don’t know about.  Current TV has integrated Twitter into the debate with real-time streaming of tweets on the broadcast of the debate.  Yup what people think in real time about the candidates and their answers.  This integration means that users can actively participate in the debate in a way that even those AT the debate can’t.  Odd concept – people 10 feet away from the candidates can’t influence, but people 1000’s of miles away can.  Below is an example what you might see should you watch the next debate on Current.

It never ceases to amaze me how technology developed for one use can quickly morph to deliver on new/emerging needs with the existing capabilities.  Do you think Twitter could help coordinate aid relief,  donations and needs for natural disasters?  FEMA should maybe get a Twitter account.

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1 Comment

  • Reply jon gatrell October 10, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    A real-time voice: Hack the Debate and Where’s my Gas?: Two really interested things have happened of l.. http://tinyurl.com/546fmh

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