The Phone Booth 3000. A Simple Idea for Next Generation Boothing

Driving in this morning, I heard a story on NPR about phone booths, and how the city of Philadelphia is looking to rethink these.  They are making money as ad centers and still see some use, but most are dirty, graffiti plagued, and plain eyesores.  Given where we are as a young civilization and how we’ve evolved, they think – and I do to – that its time to revisit the phone booth concept.

The idea that the story spoke about was a touch screen computer thing.  A modern, touch enabled communications tool available to the public.  Sounds simple – a screen, a booth, some small apps – maybe something Android based, like a large tablet but with tourist info and other widgets.

Sure  – but I started thinking about the challenges of mobile advertising, and the obvious, the power of Twitter.  On a separate story I heard on NPR – yeah – I listen to them a lot – they covered a police officer, Detective Joseph Turner, of West Philadelphia, who is an advocate of police tweeting and is using Twitter to remain communicated with his community, and in a sense, adding another dimension to community policing.

Philly Cops Bust Crime In 140 Characters Or Fewer

A thought occurs.  Rather than a touchscreen monitor with app icons and banner ads at the bottom – I envision a Hootsuite like interface, with columns-maybe three, one for the local police tweet stream, another containing a tourist tweet stream, and maybe another collecting local businesses – and the latter two columns could have ads built directly into the stream.  It will also need an area for one to tweet.  They could sign in to their account and their location will be hashtagged and the could construct their message.  It would automatically sign out of your account after 1 minutes and 40 seconds of inactivity.


Not everybody uses Twitter. Fine, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t have a live stream of some local activity.  What about the phone?  Well – dump it.  The money here comes from the physical and digital ads in the booth and the tweet stream.

An opportunity for Twitter

Yes.  Municipal ad based booths can be an additional revenue stream.

Why not 4Square?

No reason – maybe a combination of the two would work.  Twitter just came to my mind first.  But I’m sure a case can be made for them too.

Well – that’s my idea

It brings together the use of public whitespace and revenue, while providing a communication service free of charge to the public.  It’s far better than having widgets on touchscreen.  That view is getting a bit stale.