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What Twitter is good for


Today’s local gov’t digital responsivess score: Boston Police 1, MBTA 0

Riding the #1 bus across the Charles to Cambridge for the last half-day of Media in Transition this morning, was mildly horrified to notice our driver holding the wheel with his forearms. Both hands were engaged with the keyboard of his cell phone and his gaze shifted between the road and his tiny screen. Didn’t think quickly enough to pull out the iPhone and snap a picture, but when I had settled into my conference session to listen to Ben Peters explain the failure of the Soviet Union to develop the Internet, I searched on Twitter in vain for an official MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) Twitter address (a few informal ones and one set up to insult the “T” as we call the Metro here in Boston). But the Boston Police are there! So I tweeted as follows:

8:50AM headed to #MIT6 just missed getting photo of driver on #1 texting while bus moving. MBTA not on Twitter!! Maybe @Boston_Police care?

And some while later, the Boston Police answered:

thanks – will forward to T.

Now that is the just the kind of civic participation instant gratification elation the Twit-o-sphere is made for.

They also thoughtfully advised me on the proper use of their Twitter:

Thank you for following the Boston Police(beta). We monitor @ replies, but in case of emergency, always phone 911.

Kudos to the Tweeting Boston Police, and Mass voters, please support increasing the gas tax to fund more better and more responsive mass transit.

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  1. steve

    April 26, 2009 @ 3:09 pm


    I’m curious why you didn’t just call 911? Life threatening situation, imo.

  2. Carrie

    April 29, 2009 @ 2:35 pm


    This is an everyday occurance here in Cleveland. The bus system here is kown as the RTA. It doesn’t matter if they are on the highway or the side streets they will be texting or talking on their cell phones.

  3. Persephone Miel

    May 16, 2009 @ 3:06 pm


    Steve – Didn’t feel life-threatening at the time (we were in fact moving at a crawl in traffic)
    Now I think maybe I should have given recent events in Boston –

  4. Daniel

    August 26, 2009 @ 4:01 pm


    This is a very curious history. How did it end?

    Much greetings from Germany