As regular readers of this blog know -- and I'm sure they've been paying attention lately, because the bad weather means less time in the exercise yard -- I've been using the storm to brush up on the power of social media. Earlier this week, I wrote about the Port Authority's Twitter account -- a story picked up on today by both KDKA-TV and the Post-Gazette.
And this morning, thanks to a press release sent by city councilor Bill Peduto, comes word of Howsmystreet -- a Web site that allows you to channel all your bitching about road conditions into a potentially useful online format.
Howsmystreet allows you to be your own Trisha Pittman -- updating fellow Pittsburghers about road conditions. It's a mapping tool that allows residents to report on road conditions -- and display flags indicating the passability of roads. It was engineered by Priya Narasimhan, an associate professor at CMU who brough us "Yinzcam," a mobile app which allows Penguins fans to pick their own camera angle while at the game.
Yinzcam was all about passive consumption of media -- perfect for sports fans. But the Howsmystreet tool allows drivers to take a more active role. You can submit your own traffic report just by placing a color-coded flag on the streets you want to report. (There's also a Twitter account available for updates.)
For example, from the comfort of my office, I can get a pretty good sense of the route Peduto himself has to take to get from his East End home to Cappy's bar on Walnut Street. No wonder he's pissed about road conditions!