The ability of social media to change things is empowering and, at times, intoxicating.
I am going on and on about this app not because I think it is neat, which I do, by the way. But it is the philosophy behind it, and other similar products, that gets me excited, and people who do not care to understand the psychology behind them, be they businesses or governments, will live to rue the day they dismissed social media to be just a fad or playthings of the young.
The app in question, and tens and thousands more like it, encapsulates and explains very well the psychology behind social media -- it gets people involved; it breaks convention; and it empowers the masses.
Let's examine the way the traffic app works: users participate by signing on, and the more people who do, the more accurate the traffic information relayed back to them. For example, an account of 50 people witnessing an accident is much better than one or two. With signals bouncing back and forth between more phones and towers, the data gets analysed and crunched to give us information that we can use, such as to avoid certain roads.
The other element of the app, and this is yet another feature of the social media, is active participation of the masses. While switching on one's devices to the app is already participation -- albeit passively, to make the app perform better, a higher level of participation is needed.