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Twitter in Transit, take 1, at BarCamp Vancouver 2009

barcamp YVR

Originally uploaded by rocketcandy

Last Saturday, the grid at BarCamp Vancouver was too compelling and I pitched a seat-of-my-pants talk to share some upcoming research I’ve been working on, looking at the use of Twitter by transit agencies (focusing on TransLink here in Vancouver, the Toronto Transit Commission in Toronto, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco). The trick is that it’s almost entirely quantitative, so it’s serving as a nice bridge between my planning and communication work, and stretching me quite a bit in my quantitative analysis capabilities.

I’ll be presenting this research in a more fully-formed and rigorous way at an academic conference in November 6-7 happening in Vancouver called Interdisciplinary Themes — The City: Culture, Society, Technology.

I’m going to save my exhaustive, comprehensive blog post on the topic for after that presentation, when the kinks have worked themselves out more fully; in the mean time, Miss604 Rebecca Bollwitt captured some quotes from me and others at the session in her BarCamp Vancouver 2009 liveblog. Thanks to Bryce, Liz and Stephen Rees for their pictures of my session; this conference is also the first time I’ve taken notes on a projected tablet during question period, and here is the final image of my notes.

My observation thus far, wading into the transportation research literature, is that social media seems inherently to a challenge for it as an industry, because quantitative methods are baked into its decision-making and knowledge-making structures to the core. And this extends to the marketing of transit. And while social media is, on the one hand, about normal distributions about as much as everything else, there’s been a constantly niggling feeling to me that everything I’m learning about sampling is also profoundly off mark in some important ways when it comes to social media and personal expression.

But for now, back to work.

One Trackback

  1. By A little more about #myresearch on January 25, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    […] and just tweeting what I was seeing and why I care about the experience of transit. I’ve previously spoken about this research at Barcamp a few years back, when I was just starting in the planning […]

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