25 July 2007

Finally...A Use For Twitter

Until recently, I've found Twitter to be the single most annoying and useless fad since NeoPets and Tamagotchi toys. I still have absolutely no interest in, nor do I understand the fascination with virtual pets. I may be coming around to Twitter however.

The Lifehacker folks are atwitter for Twitter and using it as a productivity-boosting tool as opposed to a sort of micro-blogging platform:
Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing. For some friends you might want instant mobile updates—for others, you can just check the web. Invite your friends to Twitter and decide how connected you want you to be.

I personally don't have much interest in what my friends or family are doing every second of the day or where they are at any arbitrary time when I am not in direct contact with them. Maybe I'm just stubborn and still prefer email, a telephone call, maybe some Blackberry love, or - heaven forbid - face-to-face interactions.

However, following two previous posts concerning access to interesting data sets and an interesting data visualization tool, I noticed My Mile Marker.

Being a bit of a data wonk, I immediately jumped onto the Twitter bandwagon so I could send SMS messages to M3 from the gas pump and fulfill my need for immediate gratification (which may seem like a strange thing when you're generating and collecting data for future analysis). M3 account creation was easier than easy.

M3 has a nice interface and provides some tracking and reporting tools.

I like this idea because I usually compute my fuel consumption when I fill my gas tank but it's nothing I track beyond each fill. I notice trends such as getting 50 fewer miles range per tank or averaging 2 MPG more than usual. I like the idea of viewing fuel consumption trends and identifying when, for example, I added air to the car's tires, changed the engine oil or the gas station began adding more ETOH as it gets colder in New England.

We'll see how this goes.

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