SF Architecture, Landscape, Weather Brought to Life on Twitter

Twitter has long been a place where fictional characters – from Darth Vader to strange turns on comic book heroes to the characters from the space opera Firefly – have found life. Now, in a move to warm a tourism board’s heart, some of the most iconic features of San Francisco are also animated on the micro-blogging service.

Authored by a person or persons unknown, about two dozen SF buildings, structures, landscape features – even the fog – tweet away to each other and other Twitter users concerned with traffic, weather and other Bay Area happenings. These tweeting icons are cheeky in style, and several are quite active, while others have faded away, as Twitter users are wont to do.

From “Karl the Fog” to “TransAmericaBdg,” you can check out their latest antics on my new Twitter list.

San Francisco City Attorney’s Office on Flickr

Of late, I’ve been been using the photo sharing site Flickr more and more, shifting my focus from researching its 4 billion images to uploading fresh content and networking through the site. Flickr has tremendous functionality for creating blog content and populating other social media platforms as well. I’ve got a recent post about using Flickr in a broader content strategy, and Dan Slee of UK local gov’t has a great guide called “Social Photo: 11 groovy ways Flickr can be used by local government.”

One of the great local government examples we’ve looked at is the Flickr activity of the Washington State Department of Transportation, managed by Jeremy Bertrand. Today, we opened an official Flickr account for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, where we hope to not only highlight our great city, but also feature photos that illustrate the work of our office, from the hard-fought battle for marriage equality, to City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s anti-gang initiatives.

If you are a San Francisco photographer, or just interested in connecting with our content and San Francisco favorites, please add us on Flickr. We also welcome suggestions on how you think we can best use this channel.

How Did You First Learn of Twitter?

In a post yesterday, I got thinking about the first time I heard about blogging (and Blogger). I’m wondering, how did you first hear about Twitter? What got you posting?

According to popular lore, many people were first exposed to Twitter in April 2008, when a freelance journalist arrested while covering a demo in Egypt used his friends to alert the State Department, which quickly obtained his release. Ari Herzog (he hit the Twitter Elite for at least part of today) tells me he first started using the microblogging service as part of a local movie club he belonged to, using SMS messages to connect.

I first heard of Twitter while investigating the Christmas 2007 tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. In early 2008, I was reviewing phone records and notices a bunch of SMS entries. Turns out they were Twitter messages.

I heard the Egyptian jail Twitter story on NPR, and in the latter half ot 2008 opened an account. I became active on Twitter during the Obama campaign, live blogging debates and such. My participation with GovLoop, the social network for Government 2.0, changed my usage as I met many innovative Twitter users, including Herzog.

One of the best descriptions of why I like Twitter I will borrow from the crowd there: “Twitter is about people you want to know better.”

How about you?

Add Quick Twitter Functionality to Your Topical Site

Plenty of folks add their Twitter activity to their blogs. Want to take it up a notch for your topic- or location-specific Web site?

All you’ve got to do it grab the Twitter RSS feed for a search term and add it to a text/html box on your site. I’ve got a feed for “Government 2.0,” just check the right column of my page to see what it looks like. You could do it for “San Francisco,” “social media,” “Barack Obama” or anything else you can imagine and that people are tweeting about.

Please let us know about your sites and new Twitter feeds in the comments!