(No On 8 Contest Details at the Bottom)
To this day, I still find it difficult to explain the merits of twitter. It can be a waste of time, it’s usually addictive, and more often than not, it’s self-indulgent to the point of being useless. However, in the right hands, Twitter can be a force for good, if not, in the very least, a killer way to organize hundreds and hundreds of yahoos dressed up like Santa Claus.
Santacon is an annual event that takes place in major US cities. While the concept may be simple: revelers dress in Santa suits and bar hop, the execution is anything but. Think back to the last time you tried to organize 10 of your closest friends to do anything. People arrive late, they want you to wait, tell you call them when you get somewhere, don’t want to go where you’re going. It’s a huge headache and never works out quite right. Now imagine trying organize a bunch of half-drunk people you don’t know. As one of the organizers put it “Herding cats is nothing compared to herding Santas!”
Twitter, however, saved the day. The event had set starting locations and times, but plans oft change, and there’s no way to predict how long the Santas would stay at a given bar before moving on. So, having missed the 11:30 AM kick-off, I had no idea where the pack would be when I left my house at 3:30. And even if I knew where they were when I left, they’d be gone by the time I would have gotten there. What’s a Kris Kringle to do? Oh! Subscribe to the Twitter feed and get live updates via SMS text on my phone. It’s damn genius and it worked as well as any GPS system would have. (Santacon Pics!)
My Santacon experience was a blast, especially handing out bouncy balls to kids and War On 8 Pins to the adults, and it’s all thanks to Twitter. And for any of you out there who still think it’s self-indulgent and a waste of time, it really boils down to who you follow and how you use it. Take this real world example:
User123: wants to SCREAM!!!!!
Cathartic maybe, but useful? Not a chance. Perhaps if User123 had added a little more info, the post would have been worthwhile to anyone other than himself.
User123: Wants to SCREAM! Traffic between SF and Daly City is bumper to bumper. Stay off HWY 280!
Now, all of a sudden it’s useful to 100′s of commuters. Some news stations and special interest groups now even have a Twitter account which they regularly update. Into the Prop 8 issue? Follow NoOnProp8 for all the latest, aggregated updates. Actually want to get real traffic updates? Check out Commuter Feed. The usefulness of Twitter only grows as more and more creative people start using it. So if you’re not already on it, you should sign up at Twitter.com. It’s quick and painless, but just in case you get stuck, there’s a video tutorial over at ryanmcmillan.com.
No On 8 Giveaway
click for more pins and things
The War On 8 Pins I passed out during Santacon were received extremely well (I love San Francisco), but a still have some left and really want to get them out there before Christmas. So, post a comment with a link to a picture of you at a Prop 8 rally, and I’ll send you a handful of pins (while supplies last) for free. They’re normally $2.45 a piece on Zazzle, and I’ll even pay for shipping! Happy Holidays!
Make sure to leave some contact info so I can get a hold of you. Email, @twittername, whatever.
And as always… Follow me on Twitter! http://twitter.com/dpwalsh