Social networking networks such as Twitter can be very useful and yesterday was a classic example. I was on my way into work on the train. That’s a rare thing in itself as I normally drive but because I was starting work during peak hour, I decided that train was indeed the way to go.
When I was sitting on the train, I was twittering (as usual) when I saw a message from BJ the Research Guy (@tangararama). He put a message out there for anyone on my home sector asking if anyone was going to be on 38 run because he left his coffee mug (thankfully not one of his 2 Erk Pod mugs that he is collecting) on the train. He left the mug in the leading cabin of set T50.
So I had a look at my diagram book. For those playing along at home, each job we do has a number and each job we call a diagram. This is because, well, you can follow what we are doing for a particular job like a diagram. Not all diagrams start at the same time and there is about 3 diagrams that start roughly at the same time. I wasn’t exactly sure what diagram I was on but I did know roughly what time I was starting. I usually worry about the diagram when I arrive at work because they can and do change.
So I had a look at the 3 diagrams and one of them did indeed have me driving 38 run at the start of the shift. Now I had to get to work and confirm if I was on that particular diagram. When I did arrive at work, I was able to confirm that I was on that diagram and my first train was 38 run. Therefore, it was extremely lucky for BJ that I was working because I normally do not start work that early. He was even more lucky because I was supposed to be rostered off work that day but I swapped so I could have Saturday off for Round Table 10. So I should not have even been at work.
With the knowledge that I would indeed be on the train that BJ was on, I headed to Lidcombee to wait for the train. When the train did arrive, I saw that the set that BJ was on (and hopefully his mug was still on) was at the back of the train. Hopefully!
Even though BJ had driven 38 run earlier that morning, it could have been changed between the time he got off the train and the time I got on. This can happen for a variety of reasons and is usually known as a set change. After all this, I was still not assured of being able to find BJ’s mug until I got to change ends at Liverpool.
After having some unrelated problems that BJ did not have earlier, I got to Liverpool and saw that the set that I was about to drive was the set that BJ left his mug on. I knew this by looking at the set number that you can see at the top of this post. This is called a target plate (for reasons that I don’t know). When I got into the cabin, I could see where BJ left the mug on the dash. My mission was a success! After taking a couple of photos, I had to get the train active again to start my next trip. I then rang a very happy BJ and because he had already finished for the day, he asked me to keep the mug until we could arrange to meet up. In another stroke of luck, I was having my meal break at BJ’s depot so I could drop the mug off for him to pick it up today.
Today saw BJ re-united with his (by now) lucky mug and he was very happy about it. What started out to be a message of mere hope ended up giving both of us a laugh and me a blog post. But the important thing was that the mug went to it’s rightful home.
This is one of many examples of how a social network can be used. And apart from the fact that it could be done computer to computer from home or work, this particular example was completely done on mobile phones (my Nokia N95 and BJ’s iPhone). So no longer do you need to be chained to your desk but you can take your phone with you and it will act just like your computer would.
Another ironic thing is that BJ’s Twitter ID is @tangararama and he left his mug on a Tangara type train. It’s small things that amuse me sometimes!