In the age of relentless media, it's tough to know where to get the best information. So, we've been making some lists (and, of course, checking them twice).
Twitter has become a real-time news source, but it's only as useful as the accounts you follow. On Twitter, as in life, following the wrong crowd won't get you very far.
Today, we're here to help. For the past year or so, we've been picking out the Twitter accounts we find most valuable when it comes to getting information about the future of our cities. However, with that being one of the most vast subjects on the planet, we thought we'd kick off this Tops in Twitter feature with a list of the best crew to follow in one category: transportation. If you like this idea, let us know, and we'll do another list on a different subject soon.
For now, here are our Top 10 Transportation Tweeters (the fact that we're running this on Tuesday is exciting for its alliterative value and is otherwise irrelevant). These are the accounts we recommend you follow if you want to stay on top of all things transportation, mass transit, cycling, and beyond:
@EdReiskin: And if you're following NACTO, you should also follow its newest president, Ed Reiskin, who is also doing wonderful work as the Director of Transportation in San Francisco. (Reiskin assumed the role of NACTO's president in January, succeeding Janette Sadik-Khan.)
@projjal: A list of Transportation Tweeters would not be complete without one of Future Cities' most prolific and favorite bloggers, Projjal Dutta, Director of Sustainability for New York's MTA. If you've read Projjal's blogs here, you'll know that he is passionate about sustainable transportation in all cities and isn't afraid to say what he thinks. You'll get that same energy and passion on Twitter, plus some great photos too, like this one.
@BrooklynSpoke: This is the Twitter account of Doug Gordon, a documentary producer who is adamant about the need for cyclist and pedestrian safety. Here's one recent exchange I particularly enjoyed:
@StreetsblogNet: A great account to follow for regular updates from their own blog and others on sustainable transit and livable streets in cities across the US.
@BikeWalk: Anyone concerned with sustainable transportation must also see the need for more cities to embrace cycling and walking and primary modes of mobility. This Twitter account represents coalition of over 200 biking and walking advocacy organizations in North America. If that's not reason enough to follow them, here's another incentive:
@2AvSagas: While primarily a Twitter account about New York City's subways, and related matter, we recommend you follow Second Ave. Sagas on Twitter for a dose of true New York sarcasm about all things transit and transportation... and also for reality checks like this one:
@Streetfilms: This is the Twitter account for Streetfilms, an organization that creates educational films about transportation, street design, and policy, and distributes them freely online. Keep up with these excellent films by following them on Twitter, and take a look at this one from 2011 which is making its rounds on the Internets again, in light of the recent onslaught of snowstorms:
@APTA_Transit: This Twitter account represents the American Public Transportation Association, an advocacy group that seeks to keep people, and elected officials (also known in some circles as "people") informed about the need for and benefits of public transportation. Follow this account for news, facts, and figures about mass transit; and, for more information, check out their website here.
@BrentToderian: Vancouver's former city planner is a strong advocate of sustainable transportation, and his Twitter account is a testament to that. Here's a recent Tweet of Brent's for all cities to consider:
And there you have our 10. Click the above Twitter handles to follow them individually, or to follow them all at once, just subscribe to our Twitter list here. (Oh, and don't forget to follow us while you're at it, here: UBMFutureCities.)
bubbles Thats a very valid point actually about macro versus micro news. We have to get that balance right in our own lives to take in the important news feeds as well as the personal ones. Maybe we could use data to help, ie if a global story is trending perhaps twitter could show a pop up saying for instance 'You really should read about this news feed that is globally viral (and I dont mean gangnam videos, I mean official news feeds from BBC CNN NBC etc) But I admit that no news is not partisan.
Re: I think I am a geek Twitter indeed is a great way to find out news and information about any specific topic you're interested as well. I really hope they don't jump in the wagon that has the same direction that Facebook and Google are aiming to. To create such tailored newsfeed and suggestions that we create a bubble that doesn't show anything else besides our interest. It sound awesome in paper... however the way I see it, might be that we will be auto-censoring some stuff and/or we won't be able to expand our horizons "by finding" new interests/topics.
Re: Can't tweet underground here I'm glad you found this useful, Amy! Thanks for the suggestions, too. I'm more excited than I'd like to admit about those two historical accounts you mention. This is the kind of thing Twitter is good for.
More to come - I will do another list this week and/or next and will keep your requests in mind!
Re: Can't tweet underground here This is a terrific list! I'm off to follow these fine folks myself (and look for still more opportunities to alliterate.)
DC has several tweeters that share the most fascinating historical info about the city, such as @GhostsofDC and @old_time_DC. You can see how thoroughfares like Pennsylvania Ave and Independence Ave have changed over the decades. NY and others cities must have comparable tweeters to follow! Sometimes I find it easier to get my head around an issue facing current DC when I can look at a photo of 100-years-ago DC.
More lists like this, please. How about one that folds together ten feeds coming from NYC or Los Angeles parks? Or a roundup of public-transit people from around the globe?
I think I am a geek I love that video, I feel so sad!! But he is right! As far as twitter is concerned, it is a great medium for tailored news. Its news tailored to you which is great. It is also more effective than facebook at getting people together in my view as it is not dependent on 'friend status' it is more about 'interest status', as you choose who to listen to instead of getting updates from long lost friends who just happen to be in the Maldives making you jealous as yuou sit at your desk.
Re: You may yet get me to like twitter I'm with you Nicole. I use Twitter more than Facebook these days as well. While it takes a period of time to fine tune the list of Twitter follows, the quality of information seems to be a bit higher than those on Facebook.
Re: Can't tweet underground here I hear you there kq4ym. Twitter is only good for me to keep up with some technical topics. By following folks that are leaders in those areas, it helps me stay current. They often tweet tips, what's bothering them at work and how they solve it, in 140 character digestable form. At times, they certainly write celebrity-like things such as "I need to have pancakes now". Very irrelevant, yet, personable.
Re: You may yet get me to like twitter I've been 'listening' mostly via Google News and a handful of email lists, and it will be good to have another alternative if Twitter works as well as you suggest. I may be an old dog but I"m not afraid to learn new tricks.
Re: You may yet get me to like twitter NewDream: Oh, I would agree with you that Facebook is the better medium for interactions between people, for sure. But Twitter seems better to me for sitting back and finding out what's new and in the news. I definitely do more absorbing and reading on Twitter than participating, which doesn't make me a great Twitter-er.
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