WRAL.com at the State Fair

NC State Fair Twitter: Mo' Tweets, Less Problems?

Posted October 15, 2010 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 15, 2010 9:50 p.m. EDT

I was having a quiet boiled-peanut-and-soda interlude, thinking about how social media relates to such a live and immediate event as the NC State Fair, and I got an idea. Tell me what you think.

You probably already know that the NC State Fair has a busy Twitter account at http://twitter.com/ncstatefair -- tweets from today include answering questions, pointing to new food, and giving information about attendance. But what if the NC State Fair operated two more Twitter accounts? I'm thinking specifically of lost and found items and kids.

Lost and Found Items -- Imagine a Twitter account, called @NCStateFairLF. Every time someone turns in an item to the lost and found office, staff snaps a picture of it (even a cell phone picture would work) and posts both a brief description to the Twitter account and a picture to Twitpic. (If you have a Twitter account, you automatically have a Twitpic account as well.) If you lose something, you could either a) go to a nearby support area and go through the tweetstream there to see if your item has been turned in, or b) check the tweetstream on your own cell phone (assuming that it wasn't your cell phone you lost.)

Kids -- Imagine another Twitter account, called @NCStateFairKLF. Parents would be encouraged to snap cell phone pictures of their kids right when they get to the Fair. If they, Heaven forbid, lose track of their kids, they can give the cell phone picture to Fair authorities, who can post pictures to the Tweetstream and have all subscribers on the alert immediately. By the same token, if someone finds a lost child their picture can easily be circulated. Of course, parents may not want pictures of their children on a public Twitter stream. @NCStateFairKLF could be made private, with access available only to trusted entities/groups, with pictures removed immediately from Twitpic when a child is reunited with their parents. I'm absolutely certain law enforcement already has a way to distribute images and child information, but something like Twitter might make it easier to distribute information to non law-enforcement entities like school groups, church organizations, and non-governmental social support services.

Just some boiled peanut thoughts...