How we are thinking about Twitter

For starters, if you are not familiar…then try this:

The idea that I am thinking about is very straight-forward…and does not take advantage of all that Twitter has to offer…but it would be a very functional start:
In-scope commuter lines will have a Twitter “account” that will tweet the Clever Commuter alerts. SMS users may the use the “follow via SMS” feature…and therefore receive the alerts via their cell phones. People who chose to follow. (AND get SMS updates on their cell phones) would receive the 140 character updates…which come from their fellow commuters. The messages are designed to be very “clean” and free of ads, promotional messages, footers, signatures, etc.
Our recently-released tech upgrade gives us this flexibility and we are exploring a “beta” soon.

Why is this appealing to Clever Commute? it’s adds value to the product…at zero cost…and no impact to non-users

  • It provides a way for us to provide fast and free service for commuters who use their cell phones.  (FYI – sending true SMS would otherwise cost us money. Our legacy of sending email to your phone has a few flaws…which are largely address by this new approach.
  • There would be no impact or changes to experience of the other Clever Commuters (e.g., Blackberry, iPhone)
  • Twitter can handle the volume

It’s key to note that Twitter solves for a key problem I have: the current Clever Commute “user experience” on a cell phone is “just OK”. (signup is tough…and now that we have sponsored messages and footers, the actual messages are too long)
We’d also add that Twitter is good for today…but we could also “swap it out” and / or publish to other social media (Facebook, Friendfeed…etc.)

It’s a new world…and we’re excited about it
For now, this will be a beta program…and we’ll evaluate the impact after a few months and then determine if we’ll continue.

For people who chose not to use Twitter, absolutely nothing will change…so this will be a non-event for them.