Announcements News

It’s a Snap…chat!

One thing that we have tried to make Pennsylvania Highways be is at the forefront of innovations of Internet technology.  Recently, that technology is with the evolution of social media, or what was once referred to as “Web 2.0.”  While we will be the first to admit that the site itself still has work to be done, it’s presence in social media has been extensive.  Some of our social media channels have worked out well engaging with the public, such as Twitter and Facebook, and others not so much, such as and Vimeo, have not.

One new social media outlet that has been talked about in recent time is Snapchat. It is similar to text messaging or instant messaging, except that the “snaps” you send someone automatically deletes itself after a period of time. Even with this limitation, businesses are jumping on the bandwagon and joining.

We figured we might as well jump on the bandwagon as well, but trying to navigate Snapchat is a little challenging. Businesses use it to advertise discount codes for their stores, share branded filters, or show “behind-the-scenes” activities. I doubt anyone wants to see me code pages or update content, so I guess it’ll be used to promote new construction projects. If you want to join us on the trip, just snap (see what I did there?) our snapcode below.

Pennsylvania Highways Snapcode
Announcements News

Up Periscope!

We all know the function of periscopes on submarines.  They are the instrument that sailors use to check out what is going on on the surface.  Just as that periscope helps see a wider view, there is now an app that can do the same thing.

Periscope was developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein in 2014 and acquired by Twitter a year later.  The purpose of the app is to stream in real-time anything using a smartphone.  Hopefully I will be able to use it to live stream events such as ribbon-cutting ceremonies, project open houses, and other events related to the highway system.  As they say in the television business, “stay tuned.”

Announcements News

No Need to Shake Your Smartphone

Pictures seem to be social media’s “bread and butter” these days.  No more just telling people about what you are seeing or what your are experiencing, but now you can snap a picture with your smartphone and show your followers.  One service has been built strictly to do just that, and even caught the attention of one of the “big boys” of social networking when Facebook purchased Instagram.

On Instagram, users can not only share pictures but also small short video clips.  With the application of various filters, the images can even look like old Polaroid instant pictures.  A service such as this seems like a perfect fit for Pennsylvania Highways, where sharing pictures of roads, signs, traffic signals, etc. has been a part of our site for years.  So if you like checking out interesting pictures of highway infrastructure, head on over to our page, but don’t shake your monitor like a Polaroid picture.

Announcements News

OUCH! Watch Where You Stick That Pin!

You might have heard of the website Pinterest, or at the very least, seen “Pin It” icons on sites you have visited.  It is another social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, but not about sharing statuses or links to Icanhascheezburger, but sharing pictures.  People use Pinterest to plan weddings, pick out a place to visit for their next vacation, and design a new living room by posting pictures they find to “boards” on their page.

Businesses are also joining in on the fun of sharing.  The Department of Tourism, VisitPA, has a page that shares pictures from around the state of points of interest and scenes of natures.  Today, Pennsylvania Highways has joined to share pictures relating to the highway system of the Commonwealth as well things relating to highway travel.  The best part is, there is nothing sharp involved.

Announcements News

Follow Us on Foursquare!

Global Positioning Satellites, or GPS, has revolutionized the world.  Now with the help of GPS-enabled devices, being lost is quickly becoming obsolete.  Not only can people be found who were lost and possibly injured in the deepest wooded area, but drivers can find that hidden shortcut, and walkers and joggers can record their latest achievement.

One of the uses of GPS chips has been inclusion in cell phones over the past decade.  Aside from being able to locate you in the event of an emergency when calling 911, it can help navigate unfamiliar territory.  The advent of the smartphone has brought apps utilizing the GPS chip such as Google Maps and Foursquare.

“What is Foursquare?” you may ask.  It is a social networking platform like Twitter and Facebook, but unlike those websites, Foursquare gets you away from your computer and out exploring.  Users can “check in” to various locations from their cell phones, which earn them points and badges.  Check in more times at one place, and you will become “Mayor” of that location which might earn you a perk.

Foursquare is about where Twitter was two years ago.  It is on the cusp of being the “next big thing” in the world of Web 2.0.  Just as organizations jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, they are jumping, or I should say checking in, on the Foursquare bandwagon.  VisitPA (the Department of Tourism) has three badges, PA Retail Polka, PA 4 Score & 7, and PA Shooflyer, that users can earn by checking in at certain places around the Commonwealth.

Now Pennsylvania Highways has joined them, and Washington State Department of Transportation and Missouri Department of Transportation, with a Foursquare page.  It will be used to give tips on highway-related check in points such as the Squirrel Hill Tunnel or one of the Turnpike interchanges, but only read them on the website or let a passenger read them to you.  Perhaps a badge or two will be offered if Foursquare permits it in the future, but before you ask, there will not be a “Pothole Badge.”

Announcements News

Social Network With Us

There is a lot of talk these days about the newest revolution on the Internet: Social Networking.  It started with this blog, which I use to write not just about the roads across the Commonwealth, but musings about Pennsylvania.  However, other means of social networking have come along since blogs were all the rage.  I began to think how these new tools could benefit Pennsylvania Highways.  So today, on the ninth anniversary of when I purchased the domain, I created a couple new avenues of communication, so you can social network with us by tweeting, liking, or watching Pennsylvania Highways.

Social network with us via Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

The new cultural buzzword.  Everyone seems to be twittering, from Oprah to Senator John McCain.  I’ve seen other Twitter pages such as CNN’s and the Washington State Department of Transportation’s and thought how it could work for my site.  PennDOT and the PTC do have a system where people can receive text messages; however, it doesn’t have the immediacy of a Twitter post.  So using the WSDOT “template,” I created an account that will not only be used for updates to the site, but news items pertaining to the highway system.

Another phenomenon that seems to have come out of nowhere and taken the Internet by storm is Facebook.  It seems that everyone from 9 to 90 has a Facebook page, even people’s pets!  So I figured why not create a Pennsylvania Highways presence on this platform as well.  Posts will include news articles, website updates, announcements of upcoming road enthusiast meets, and other events.

No doubt you have spent time on this site. Probably watching a clip of a skateboarding bulldog while trying not to get caught by the boss.  YouTube is nothing new to the road enthusiast community, as others have been recording their journeys and uploading them to this popular website.  So now Pennsylvania Highways has entered the fray. However, trying to find its niche will take a little longer than it took to set the page up. 

One issue is that PennDOT has saved me the work by going ahead and videotaping all state routes.  Another issue is that I need a newer video camera than my family’s circa 1991 Panasonic camcorder that is as big as a half loaf of bread, or just buy the A/V dongle from Hauppauge, so I can record the video from it onto my computer’s hard drive.  Basically, this idea is still on the burner.

So if you feel like it, social network with us at the links above.