By Peter Corbett / ADOT Communications
@ArizonaDOT is celebrating its Twitterversary this month with 10 candles, 224,000 followers and a toot of our own snowplow horn.
Aw, shucks! #ThankYou, fellow Arizona tweeters.
A decade ago, a little bird told us we should start tweeting to and with the motoring public. Tim Tait, now ADOT's communications director, was listening and waded into the growing social media maelstrom. Here's the modest first tweet from ADOT's Twitter account, sent at 1:14 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008.
Twitter turned out to be an ideal forum for two-way communications between ADOT and travelers. The immediacy of the medium is ideal for responding to road conditions that turn on a dime. It also allows us to share news about ADOT and images of things happening on and near highways, including the recent 9/11 remembrance in Tempe.
By 2012, ADOT had public information officers covering Twitter, among other communication channels, 20 out of 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. We recently expanded coverage to 24/7.
We also share information on Facebook
and ADOT Alerts
, a free travel app we launched last November.
Our tweets on road conditions, crashes and detours have saved motorists statewide from countless delays. We also warn drivers of safety hazards from dust storms to debris on the highway, and we answer their questions.
We sometimes use Twitter to call attention to the weird and wonderful, such as this image that turned out to be a rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
In turn, motorists have shared their on-scene observations with fellow travelers and often their frustrations with road closures or other drivers.
Occasionally we just have a little fun, such as the other day, when we showed someone playing saxophone along Loop 101 in Scottsdale – all while slipping in a relevant safety message.
Then there was the time we set off sasquatch fever around Arizona with a tongue-in-cheek tweet sent on snowy day.
The recent success of @ArizonaDOT is reflected in the numbers: It took eight years to get to 100,000 Twitter followers and just over 18 months to top 200,000, as of October 2017. Now it’s up to 224,000.
We’ve sent more than 177,000 tweets with 37,000 or so photos, maps and graphics. We like to share. Thanks for sharing with us.
Since numbers are a such big part of our Twitter story, we'll end with some more:
- 20,000 tweets as of January 2013
- 100,000 followers in March 2016
- 177,000 tweets sent to date
- 224,000 followers at last count
Thanks again, Twittersphere.