Park & Tweet | Bleader

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Park & Tweet

Posted By on 07.21.11 at 08:05 AM

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My morning walk from the train to the office takes me by a parking garage with an intriguing invitation on its electronic signboard: Follow Us On Twitter.

I realize there's a new world out there, with fresh and improved forms of communication, and that we'd better get on the ship before it sails. But a parking garage on Twitter? That I don't Follow.

But I do understand. A key aim of Twitter is driving traffic your way. That makes sense for a parking garage.

The garage, Greenway Self Park, in the River North neighborhood, has posted 345 tweets since it joined Twitter two years ago. The tweets have been every bit as fascinating as you'd expect from a parking garage:

"Happy Monday everyone! Our leftmost exit lane is closed for machine repairs."

"We're developing some promotions for fall. We'd love to hear from you!"

"New apartment tower going up next door to us is going to be beautiful!"

"Want to save over 40% on evening parking?"

"Twitter is one of the ways we get to talk to our customers. We're also on FB (hint, hint)."

"Happy Tuesday everyone!"

And here are tweets you might see from the garage in coming weeks:

"The ramps are nice and shady today!"

"NASCAR Freddie just screamed by. Always great to hear him!"

"Drive in and we'll throw you a few curves today, hee hee!"

"Follow us on Facebook, where you can find out that you can follow us on Twitter!"

"Happy Wednesday everyone!"

The parking garage is following 1,832, and it has 769 followers. That's right—769 people have chosen to follow a parking garage. Well, "people" isn't quite accurate; among the garage's followers are many businesses: hair salons, restaurants, realtors, a wellness body boutique, a purveyor of chocolate masterpieces, a cleaners, a maintenance company, a junk car remover, a wedding veil maker, a stripper club, a seller of organic baby clothes, a fitness studio offering classes in yamuna body rolling, and an institute that provides "intimacy and relationship coaches." For intimacy and relationship coaches, there's no better source for clients than the followers of parking garages. Wendella Boats and Navy Pier are also followers. A couple of other parking garages are following the parking garage.

There are individual followers as well—but I suspect that most of them, likewise, have no sincere interest in the parking garage, and are following it for their own pecuniary purposes. Greenway Self Park bills itself as "Chicago's first and only earth-friendly parking garage"—it has electric car plug-ins and generates power from wind turbines. This probably explains its New Age-Twitter following, which includes a yoga teacher, a "holistic health ambassador," an acupuncturist, a "leadership guru," a coffee blogger, and a "life balancing" coach. Chicago city treasurer Stephanie Neely is a follower. So is "buns01," whose profile reads, "How are you i enjoy fun watching football did i say buying shoes check out my pics."

I imagined an introvert trying to figure out how to dip his or her toes in the Twitter waters. What safer way to start than by striking up a liaison with a parking garage? I considered following the parking garage myself. But what if Greenway Self Park didn't reciprocate by following me? Could I bear rejection from a parking garage? I already struggle with that when a garage says "Full."

I decided to wait. Recently, there have been related developments. My refrigerator is now on Twitter. "Check out our power outage specials!" it tweeted last week. I'm now also following a sofa, two doorknobs, a manhole cover, and a bird feeder. The most genuine tweets have been coming from the feeder.

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