Friday, April 3, 2009

Screw Hitchhiking. I'm goin Twitchhiking!

For my last post on this blog I felt that this article was suiting. It’s about a man named Paul Smith who calls himself the Twitchhiker. He made it all of the way from the UK to New Zealand in under thirty days by only relying on travel and boarding donations from his Twitter network. He amassed over 5 000 pounds from this network. This idea of Twitchhiking is such a perfect amalgamation of so much of what we have learned in class. Quoting Smith,

The Twitchhiker project showed that kindness is universal, that the whole can be infinitely greater than the sum of its parts, and that social media may begin online but it will converge with the real world whenever and wherever you let it.

In just one quote Smith sums up three key theories to an understanding of citizen media. His project showed how collective intelligence, when acting with kindness, can be a great utility. Each participant contributes a small part to the whole in goodwill - it’s why Wikipedia works so well. He is the first example, aside from news and marketing agencies, of someone who willingly set out to harness the collective intelligence of Twitter towards an end goal.

His journey was only possible due to Twitter’s cross platform performance. Instead of having to hulk around a laptop in every step of the journey, Twitter donations could be received on the fly through his cell-phone. Not only do several different technologies converge to make his trip possible, but also the real world with the virtual world merge. He used Twitter to bring about real-world change.

This of course, brings hope to hitchhikers around the world. No more sore thumbs, creepy drivers and walking down a lonely road in the rain. All you need is a cell phone and a Twitter account and you can get a ride to anywhere. You are always connected to a collective of people who are willing to help you. Asking for help has never been so easy.

1 comment:

  1. Wow and I thought Twitter was useless, I guess I have been proved wrong by social networking. I really like the idea of kindness and the universal good. It's nice to think that there is still some good out there especially during this economic crisis. Well i guess it is time for me start Twitchhiking all the way to Spain. Thanks for the great idea.