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Posted at 8:37 AM ET, 01/27/2011

Doing the standing still: Snowstorm invites status updates in gridlock

By Rob Pegoraro

Yesterday's glut of snow led to an unprecedented outbreak of texting, Twittering and Facebooking from behind the wheel. Fortunately, the authors of all this phone-delivered prose were stuck standing still on roads around the Washington area and in no position to endanger any other drivers while they shared the joy.

The following is a small selection of tweets seen last night from victims and observers of a particularly wretched commute:

>I just moved 200 feet in the last 10 mins... #progress

Pizza delivery guys on snowmobiles would make a killing right now on the Toll Road

Looking up Ariz toward McArthur NW, no one can move, 2 cars on right stuck in ice

Bumper to bumper traffic, both directions....Rush hour? NO! 10:30 pm!!!!!

Getting home was no guarantee of happiness either:

Phone dying. No power in house. Only candlelight left.

Some particularly bored friends took to posting mile-by-mile updates of their progress home on Facebook. One long-ago colleague took a screenshot of his iPhone's display of Google Maps traffic data showing Northern Virginia roads outlined in solid red at 9:30 and captioned it: "Looks like my angiogram..."

After he'd arrived home, he noted that the 17-mile trek took six hours and five minutes, at a slower-than-snowshoeing average of 2.87 mph.

(As for my own journey home, I'll just note that I've rarely appreciated my walk-to-Metro commute more.)

If you were imprisoned in a car or bus on the roads last night, what did you do to pass the time online? Did you pick up any useful tips from other people's updates along the way?

(I hope all of you can now enjoy the beautiful landscape outside instead of schlepping back into work. If so, you may want to revisit the tips I posted on taking better pictures in the snow last year.)

By Rob Pegoraro  | January 27, 2011; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  Digital culture, Social media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: You can see Google Offers through Google Maps
Next: Police: Five Anonymous hacking group members arrested in Britain


Used Twitter to stay in touch with others in traffic. Got the great advice to get off GWP at Spout Run, probably saved me from sleeping in my car. Social Media a great way to share the misery. And no one was moving, so there was no need to tweet-and-drive.

Posted by: dcborn61 | January 27, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I read CWG, so I knew to leave work early.

Posted by: wiredog | January 27, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

A buddy of mine showed me an app called "Waze" that shares automated GPS reports from subscribers and plots traffic jams and related information based on these inputs, so the more, the merrier. They call it "social GPS" and it might have helped in some way last night--and during the Next One. (You know it's coming).

Posted by: BoteMan | January 27, 2011 7:35 PM | Report abuse

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