Some people have written to me in the past few days interested in starting a DIYcity group in their own city. This is great - it's exactly what we had in mind with the site. Lots of the issues we will be taking on here are the sort where the particulars are different in each city or town, so it makes sense to have special groups for each of those places. And having a local group allows for meetups to happen as well, and that's going to be one of the most interesting parts of DIYcity.
So, if you want to start a DIYcity group for your own city or town, it's very easy and here's how you do it.
First, if you haven't yet, join the site.
We're hoping to have our first meetup for DIY New York City in the next couple of weeks.
If anyone has a meeting space to volunteer, get in touch.
Also, feel free to propose topics to focus on in the first meeting. We have some idea of the direction we think things should take, given who it seems will be in attendance, but anyone who wants to propose ideas of their own should do so.
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.
Welcome to the Main Group at DIYcity - this is sort of DIYcity central. Use this group as a place to post general announcements, questions, ideas, etc. to everyone on the site.
More to come...
Q. How can we use emerging social networking tools combined with mobile devices to create or augment city infrastructure? How can user input, generated on the fly, enhance city effectiveness? Is it possible to develop ad-hoc group infrastructure, without central organization? Where are the places this would be most effective?
Mobile Social Infrastructure is a topic group for exploring these and other related questions.