Monday, June 15, 2009
Take the Tweetbike test

Last week, during London’s two-day tube strike, a chap decided to give people lifts on his motorbike for free. All they had to do was use Twitter to find him and see if their journey could be accommodated.

This and other similar internet-based stunts steeped in benevolence and web-driven trust seem to split people into three separate camps.

One. ‘What a brilliant idea! I’m really annoyed I didn’t think of it’.

If you are in this camp, you fully understand the internet and are probably a geek. You believe in a utopian, moneyless future where we have all been freed of our reliance on trade by food replicators and choose to run around in skin-tight jumpsuits. You believe in true love, appreciate art and are a keen musician. You have a few close friends. You have an iPhone, which you’ve crammed with apps and love slightly too much.

Two. ‘What’s the point? What’s in it for them?’

A cautious response, this person is absorbed in commerce and, as a result, is probably successful in business. If you gave this response, you almost definitely have a wide circle of friends who are well connected. In return, you use your considerable influence to help them out. The internet is something that you recognise as an amazing marketplace, as long as you can hire people that understand it. If you could work eBay, you’d be rich.

Three. ‘I’m not getting a lift with some nutter.’

Despite this answer sounding cautious, it’s not – it’s the bravest. Standing up against the overwhelming force of web-based kindness is a tough thing to do. If this is you (and you’ve never been kidnapped) you’re most likely to be the physical type, who shuns evenings wandering around Second Life to run around Battersea Park. You watch sport on TV or in the pub. You don’t have a computer. You’re probably very attractive.

I know which camp I’m in. Next time there’s a need for a London transport replacement, I’m joining the Tweetbike fleet.