DIYcity Challenge #1: build a Twitter bot that helps users avoid traffic and get where they're going faster.
Details: There's an interesting app called the Shakeshack Twitter bot. Created and used by a group of people in Manhattan who love eating at Shake Shack, it's a bot that allows anyone to broadcast to others in the group info about how long the line is at Shake Shack at any time. And the line is usually really long, so it's pretty useful to have that info ahead of time. Knowing beforehand what the line is like can mean the difference between waiting a half an hour to get lunch and waiting five minutes.
How it works:
1. You request to follow twitter.com/shakeshack.
2. Whenever you go by shakeshack, you send a note to @shakeshack describing how long the line is. It's short, it's long, it's to the first tree, second tree, 10 min, 20 min, etc.
3. That tweet gets redistributed to everyone subscribed to @shakeshack, and those people can then make an informed decision: go grab a burger because the line is short, or skip it because the line is long.
The result: people get their burgers and shakes with only a fraction of the time spent waiting in line that they would normally spend. Time is saved, energy is saved, everyone is happy.
How could you extend this idea to work for other situations where people want to avoid traffic?
Directions for building a Twitter bot here: http://blog.stevepoland.com/how-to-create-a-twitter-bot/
Responses to DIYcity Challenge #1:
485sucks Traffic Bot 12/7/08
See discussion on this challenge here.