Yes, I would. Really. And not just because I’m incredibly puerile and tickled by toilet humour (although that’s got something to do with it) but also because I think it has the potential to serve a useful purpose.
Now you probably know about the map of #uksnow, which is created from data Twitter users contribute to – by tweeting their postcode, marks out of 10 for snowfall and adding the hashtag #uksnow and the odd twitpic. Or as Pete Ashton puts it in his post summarising the phenomenon:
‘…a load of people providing weather reports across the country in a standardised format that can automagically be turned into a live updating map.’
As Pete said, it’s a fun way of indulging in one of our Great British obsessions, the weather, on Twitter.
More hyperlocal obsessions, for the likes of William Perrin and others living in urban areas, are things like graffiti, fly tipping and dog poo. The latter is particularly nasty – it’s filthy, unsightly and downright dangerous when there are children about (Toxocariasis is no urban myth).
Unfortunately for William, there was an abundance of the stuff in his home of Kings Cross, yet he felt his local authority wasn’t really acknowledging there was a big problem or treating it terribly seriously. To try and make the issue hit home, William decided to rub the council’s brand in it. He fashioned little flags out of cocktail sticks and strips of paper with the council’s logo (‘Islington: a clean, safe and healthy borough’), stuck them in the dog poo and posted the resulting photos on his community website.
This was a very funny way of drawing attention to the problem, and an example of online community activism the talk about local team are particularly fond of quoting. But wouldn’t it be great if William had had some data to support his claims of the large scale of the problem? If his area showed up as big brown spot (sorry) on a live, updating UK map of poo? A visualisation of crowdsourced data that can say to local authorities, ‘there’s lots of poo on your patch’.
I think so. That’s why, whenever I pass a piece of poo on the street in future, I’ll tweet my postcode, marks out of 10 for general rankness and add the hashtag #ukpoo. Hell, I might even add a twitpic to boot.
Obviously, this idea will only work if it catches on and others start doing it too. It may be a little bit too gross and childish to become popular but if I’m honest, that’s a large part of its appeal to me and why I’ll be giving it a go to see what happens.