What can Twitter tell you about your town?
Posted: 10th Apr 2012
In many ways, online social media can seem distinctly anti- well, social. Where’s the human interaction when we’re all tapping away at phone screens or laptop keyboards?
As last year’s London riots showed, however, what’s really interesting about social media is where the offline and online worlds connect.
Take your home town, for example. You may not know it, but there’s a good chance that a lot of the sources of information you used to find from physical noticeboards or the local newspaper are on Twitter first these days. Staying informed is easy, all you have to do is master Twitter’s search bar.
For a start, try typing in the name of your town. This should pull up any recent Tweets that mention it. Depending on the size of the population, you could find hundreds of Tweets a day or just one or two. Look at the accounts that appear though – you’ll probably find the local paper and possibly even several officers from the police force. These are incredibly useful accounts to follow, as they’re often the source of breaking news for the area.
Want to know why all the fire engines were in the next road last night? Check the local fire brigade’s Twitter feed. In Sussex, there’s even a Twitter stream for the police helicopter, which will update every time the air support unit is called out.
Then there are all the local groups and clubs, from photography to jam-making, which are quickly getting on to Twitter and – more often – Facebook. Add them to your friends feed or follow their Facebook page for updates, and you can stay informed about upcoming events, and receive regular reminders about what’s on without clogging up your inbox.
If you use an application like Tweetdeck or Seesmic to monitor your social feeds, it’s easy to set up a separate column to constantly monitor these local updates. It’s faster and more convenient than email, and a lot quicker than wandering over to the noticeboard to see what’s going on.
There’s a new website which is designed to make all of this even easier. n0tice has been produced by staff at the Guardian newspaper to aggregate information about an area for the benefit of people who live there. It’s only just been launched, so there may not be much activity listed for your home town yet.
Why not update it with your own news, though and encourage others around you to do the same?
You might also like to read:
- How to geotag your Tweets in Android
- How to use Twitter on the move
- How to use Vine’s video for Twitter app
- Who owns your Twitter photos?
- Twitter #Music app and website out now
- Everything you need to know about Pinterest