I've just published the source code to @scotfail, as it was overdue a rewrite and a couple of people had expressed an interest in seeing how it worked.

It's not the most advanced code I've ever written - the 'Twitter' RubyGem does all the real work. If @scotfail is a success it's not because of the technology involved.

Is it even a success? I think it is - the bot has nearly 200 followers, without me doing any kind of promotion of it or even following people back. More importantly, there's several other people on Twitter who actively direct their own friends and followers to use the #scotfail hashtag so that the bot will pick it up and retweet it. Someone set up scotfail.co.uk which has a widget stalking the hashtag, and there's an extra-snarky anonymous Twitter account, @1stscotfail which uses @scotfail to find things to snark about.

There's a community built up around @scotfail. When there's severe disruptions people posting with #scotfail are frequently a better source of information than the official website and Twitter account. You get real people's real experiences, which tells you more about what's actually happening than the PR-approved version that the company will publish.

There's also the element of solidarity. When you're standing on a packed train that isn't moving, or waiting on a freezing platform for a train that might never appear, it helps to know that other people are being fucked up just as much. Yes, there's the people around you, but for the most part commuter etiquette prohibits meaningful interaction outside of exceptional circumstances, and delayed trains are not exceptional.

I've done lots of things on the internet, which is a neutral way of saying 'I've done a lot of crap and put it online'. I think that, as of writing, @scotfail might be one of the best, one of the most useful on a daily basis to people that aren't me - to people that I don't even know.

But I hope that by the end of the year that will no longer be true. I ended up scrapping my previous iPhone project and although I do plan to turn it into a pure webapp and make it available that way, it's not going to raise the bar. I have another couple of projects in the backlog that I hope will. It's not a very high bar to start, and hopefully I can create something that has even more impact.