During Bloomberg’s last two administrations he has spearheaded some very bold initiatives. From the Smoke-Free Air Act of 2008, which at the time was pretty well blasted as a horrible idea but has since made bars, restaurants and offices much more palatable to be in for non-smokers and smokers alike to the GreeNYC Initiative which has a target of reducing carbon emissions in NYC by 30% by 2030.
Like him or not, Bloomberg is not afraid to, at times, swim against the current and support legislation that may be unpopular to a small segment of the population but has or will provide a better quality of life for many, many others.
One very cool program that Mayor Bloomberg is responsible is for is 311. Basically you can call 311 for any non-emergency related question about NYC. Find out whether or not alternate side parking has been suspended, what day your trash pickup is on, report stray cats, annoyingly loud neighbors, literally anything. If they don’t know the answer they will 9/10 times be able to connect you to the dept. or agency that you need to speak to find the answer you need or report the problem you are concerned about.
311’s Mission Statement:
311 is New York City’s online Web site and phone number for government information and non-emergency services. Whether you’re a resident, business owner, or visitor, all the resources of New York City are just a phone call away.
- Provide the public with quick, easy access to all New York City government services and information while maintaining the highest possible level of customer service.
- Help agencies improve service delivery by allowing them to focus on their core missions and manage their workload efficiently.
- Provide insight into ways to improve City government through accurate, consistent measurement and analysis of service delivery Citywide.
Twitter is the perfect social media tool for Bloomberg and 311 to harness for this program. Not only will it allow people to quickly and easily report issues, ask questions or submit suggestions, it will allow other New Yorkers to follow along and build a community of concerned citizens, all with the same knowledge base, that will allow them to see and follow what is going on in their neighborhoods.
In the last two reports on the State of the Twittersphere (pdf) these locations were listed as some of the top locations of Twitter users: “New York”, “New York, NY”, “NYC”, “new york city” and “Brooklyn (represent!)”. That information combined with the fact that at least 35% of all Twitter users live in urban areas, Twitter becomes the perfect storm for NYC 311.
Not only will it be a tangible online branding of a great service, it will be, to all intents and purposes a knowledge base for concerned New Yorkers. By following NYC 311 on my Twitter stream I can not only find other well-meaning, community orientated New Yorkers to connect with, I may very possibly find an answer to a question that I hadn’t even asked yet.
Just imagine the ease of use to send out one Tweet either the night before or the morning of announcing opposite parking has been cancelled. Harnessing Twitter will not only allow 311 to be reactive around a community, it will also allow 311 to be far more proactive about making announcements and alerting New Yorkers to important information.
It’s time Mayor Bloomberg, the writing is on the wall, let’s do this. If you need hand creating general guidelines and best practices for your online Twitter presence I would be more than happy to lend a hand in helping get this winning idea off the ground. Just give me a call when you’re ready.