From the annals of "Good Ideas Teenagers Have" comes this latest trend: teens who missed the bus are now hopping on Twitter to get a ride to school. Of course, the genius plan doesn't stop with academics -- it's also handy if you don't have a ride to #AshleysPoolParty.
New York radio station WNYC checked out the Twitter hitchhiking scene with Bay Area teen Bianca Brooke, whose friend Earl lives in Atlanta and often digitally thumbs a ride to school: "I'd wake up, say, 7:45-ish and say all mad, 'Oh, I missed the bus, how do I get to school?' " Earl says. So he'd tweet: "I tweet, Can anyone give me a ride to school today? I'll buy you breakfast. I've done it with strangers and I've done it with friends."
Back in the Bay Area summer, Bianca herself is finding it handy for when her parents are unwilling to drive her to a pool party with its own hashtag:
Lots of us are using Twitter and Facebook to find rides, and not just to school. Now that it's summer, we cyber-hitchhike even more, because rides are scarce and parties are plenty. It's awkward to call a friend and ask for a ride, and half the time, they'll say, "Sorry, my car is full." But with Twitter, you just tweet #AshleysPoolParty and look for other people heading the same way.
While the young Ms. Brooks says she's careful and most teens avoid the dreaded Stranger Danger by sticking within their own social circles, others are going Web 1.0 and just putting it right out there on the serial killer-friendly Craigslist.
According to Bianca's research, ridesharing in this form makes total sense because fewer teens are rushing out to get their driver's license right away: "30 years ago, 8 in 10 American 18-year-olds had a driver's license," she writes. "Today, it's 6 in 10. So it's not that surprising that on my 16th birthday, I wasn't rushing to get a license. All I wanted was an iPhone."