How do multiple users update conditions from the field?
August 30, 2012 6:50 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way for mulitple users to update an online "conditions report" via cellphone?

A friend runs a small website for an RC flying club, and occasionally petitions me for help. He recently had the following question:
I'm trying to think of a way to allow people from our club to inform other members of the current conditions at our flying field. A lot of the time, people pack up their planes and head a long distance to our field, only to find that there are workers in the field picking vegetables or maybe the weather is crap.

One idea I had was maybe to have a twitter account, where the feed could be shown on the website. Lots of members have smartphones. Would each person require their own account or could we share the club account? I'm not sure how it works or the best way for us to do this.

Do you have any (simple) ideas for us to be able to accomplish this using twitter or any another method?
There are ~55 members, about half of whom have smartphones (most others have lower-end phones). They are mostly older dudes, not particularly web/tech savvy. The field is just a field, so phones would be the only communication method.

Though a web dev in a former life, I admit to being pretty cellphone and Twitter-ignorant, so I need some ideas. Giving 55 people access to one twitter account seems like a headache waiting to happen. Creating a hashtag and posting a feed on the website is the best plan I have at the moment. Is there a better way I'm missing? Something involving SMS maybe, to include the non-smartphoners?
posted by bethnull to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could set up a "hashtag" for your local group. For example you would pick a term like #coolrcfield and everyone on twitter could report conditions like:

great day for flying #coolrcfield


field closed due to harvest #coolrcfield

people could search twitter for the hashtag to get everyones reports.

You can also save hashtags with some clients to make it easier to search for them.

You can also set your main twitter account to retween everyone who posts with your hashtag to provide a central place to review without having to search by hashtag
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:56 PM on August 30, 2012

You could write a simple voicemail system. It could even send out a SMS when someone updates it. Services like Tropo and Twilio are cheap / free and pretty easy to use even if you have only basic coding skills. I'm not a programmer and have built some basic apps mostly combining samples from documentation and forums. Plus, at least on Tropo, support is very good. I have less direct experience with Twilio.

Alternatively, with Tropo, you could have people SMS the app and it could SMS, call, or email people the info.
posted by reddot at 5:08 AM on August 31, 2012

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