CTA wireless alerts etiquette
More than 300 people have signed up for CTA wireless alerts, 200 people in the last 18 hours along after the Tribune featured a story about them, and then other media, including Fox News and Chicago Public Radio, picked up on it. (The alerts are a collaboration between myself and my brother, Daniel X. O'Neil, an Internet consultant who came up with the idea.)
As might have been predicted, some of those newly enrolled folks wanted to test the system to see if it really works.
It does. Trust me. Now stop, please. The test alerts cost money to phone users just as real alerts do.
As I mentioned in other posts and comments, we have to be our own watchdogs. These alerts will only be as useful as we make them. Test alerts are not useful. They are annoying. Nuff said.
There have been some helpful suggestions for readers here in various comment threads. Among them:
From Ed: "Improvements could be made through standardization. Obviously, info about which line(s) is/are being affected is necessary. And the direction. (Like NB for northbound SB for southbound or IB/OB for inbound and outbound). Also, maybe the station name would be useful. So a quick message could be: "Delay SB Red @ Fullerton" Any additional info, like Why would be great if it's known."
C suggests: "State the color of the line and then a @ sign with the location of a station closing/slowdown, or a "bw" closing for "between" two stations." Thus "Red SB closed bw Add/Fulltn" means "The Red line is shut down southbound between Addison and Fullerton.
Look here for other thoughts on this subject.
Another commenter said he's like to see alerts limited to just the lines you ride. In theory it's not a bad idea, but in practice, many of the lines are intertwined, such as all the elevated trains going around the Loop plus the Red Line.
I will continue to post ideas like this as they develop. This is new technology. Let's be patient, thoughtful and polite in using it.