Good man, that Ben Smith!
As well as being a MIR Show contributor — and that already sticks him in the pantheon of the Gods as far as I’m concerned — Ben Smith has taken on the rail industry in the UK and left them looking like the damp squids that they are.
His UKTrains Tweet-Alert system has evolved to the next level with crowd-sourced alert functionality.
From today we are testing crowd-sourcing of train travel information in addition to the operator-sourced data we get via the BBC. To have your message automatically retweeted, ensure you are following the Twitter account you want to send an alert to, then add a star character after the name of the twitter account you are addressing:
@[twitter account] * [Message to be re-tweeted]
Retweeted: @uktrains * All trains out of Waterloo are delayed at the moment. [star indicates message should be re-tweeted]
Retweeted: @uktr_ virgin * Virgin service earlier dealys seem to have cleared. [star indicates message should be re-tweeted]
Retweeted: @uktr_firstcc* Services into Kings Cross stuck delayed by 20mins. [space between twitter name and * is optional]
Not re-tweeted: @uktr_londonmid Thanks very much for the warning of this morning’s delays! [no star included]
At present the service is built only to act as a proof of concept to gather feedback from users. As such re-tweeting may be delayed by up to an hour (although more typically 10mins). If successful a more rapid service will be provided which treats direct messages in the same way.
In this version twitter accounts for specific operators (the ones beginning @uktr_…) re-tweet messages directed at them. The @uktrains account re-tweets alerts from all operators.
As ever, feedback is welcomed to @bensmithuk.