How Twitter can help when you’re stuck on a train.

There were two good things to come out of an horrendous train journey to London last week.

The first was an upgraded room for my wife and I on arrival to our docklands hotel. Who knows if we’d have been given such a treat if we had arrived much earlier in the day, as we originally expected to do.

The second was a case study perfectly illustrating two of the points I made in my recent post, Five benefits of using Twitter.

While stuck on a train at Nuneaton and Rugby during the earlier stages of the disruption, there was limited information given by the train manager.

However in the social world of Twitter, hundreds of messages were being posted from people right across the route.

Performing a keyword search for “wembley central” for example, the specific site of the disruption, brought up tweets from those who were much closer to the source of the rail network’s problems. Even some photos, too. It enabled us to recieve up-to-the-minute news from a variety of locations, detailing the situation elsewhere.

Onboard the train, while we hadn’t been specifically told that our train simply wouldn’t be completing its journey, the messages on Twitter from people situated further south indicated that the problems were rather serious and that no trains were travelling in or out of London Euston.

Later, there was updates from people who were on the move again, and were slowly getting towards their destination, giving hope to those of us whose journey was still on hold.

By the time we’d arrived in Watford Junction, it would have been possible to add our own updates of the situation from there, providing benefit to anyone looking for information who was yet to make it that far.

When inconvenienced, knowing the details of your problem doesn’t solve it, but it’s far better to know something than not knowing anything at all. And it’s even more helpful when you have an idea of any timescale before things are back to normal.

In a scenario similar to the above, Twitter can help give you some answers even if your train’s staff cannot.

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