September 13, 2011 16:19 by kholda
Let’s Save Michigan and the League held the first "Twitter Talk" event this afternoon in Lansing. This hour-and-a-half session on Michigan’s vision for a new transportation system generated constant tweets from several organizations throughout the state. The dialogue continued long after the participants had left the physical event.
Questions came in both from people sitting around the table and from Twitter, making it easier to reach a broader audience in real time.
Here’s some of the conversation:
- One innovation is to link State infrastructure banks with public-private partnerships that go beyond just transportation #MiTransVision
- #MITransVision MI is home to a bi-national public bus system that uses the Detroit/Windsor tunnel. Should be connected to broader system.
- Rep. Doug Geiss pushing Highways 2.0 ideas that marry system and technology. #mitransvision
- Over 20,000 households in Detroit do not have a car or access to transit. Imagine waking up w no options to get to work. #mitransvision
Check out more of the conversation on Twitter. Search #MiTransVision and follow @letssavemich and @mmleague.
LANSING - The League held its first-ever Twitter Talk on transportation today at the Lansing office. Using new communication tools was a great way not only to spread the message, but to encourage participants to also think about the topic itself in new and innovative ways.
The dialogue was fast and furious, and was being echoed across the state in "real time" on Twitter. Much of the focus was on the need to develop a new dialogue that looks not only at how much we're spending, but on how and where we're spending it, at a time when people are re-designing their relationships to work and community.
Interesting fodder came from all the panelists, on topics like making sure public transit actually connects people to their jobs, and how safety and efficiency must be cornerstones to any successful transportation system. Some of the organizations tweeting and retweeting today included the Project for Public Spaces (an international nonprofit); Transport 4 America, a nationwide coalition focused on creating a national transportation program for the 21st century; Rustwire; Friends of Transit; and League of Michigan Bicyclists.
Hopefully the ripple effect will reach to the governor's office and beyond, showing that Michigan is engaged and energized on the subject of creating a new vision for Michigan's transportation system.
Read more about the Michigan's Transportation Vision: A Twitter Talk on Twitter @letsavemich and @mmleague and the hashtag #mitransvision and here on this website.
Each year, e.Republic’s Center for Digital Government and Digital Communities Program honors “Top U.S. Digital Cities,” which “successfully incorporate information technology into operations to better serve constituents and businesses,” according to the award's website. For the third year in a row, Ann Arbor, MI ranked in the top ten. Ann Arbor took sixth place amongst 13 cities with a population between 75,000 and 124,000 people that made the 2010 top ten list (there were a few ties this year). Ann Arbor tied with West Palm Beach, FL.
annarbor.com recently reported; “The City of Ann Arbor was recognized for several online initiatives,” which set the city apart. Some of the ways the local government is using the internet to serve constituents are listed in the article; “1) Launching an open data catalog; 2) Introducing online payment for water bills, which also allows residents to forgo paper bills by delivering electronic statements; 3) Using social networking, including Facebook, Twitter, Animoto and Foursquare; 4) Adding eTRAKiT, an online permitting and development records systems that includes planning and development information, inspection results, the ability to look up permits online and check registration with the city or schedule inspections,” according to the annarbor.com report.
Although municipal budgets are tight across the board, 2010’s recipients “continue to demonstrate the transformative power of information technology,” by budgeting in information technology, according to Director Todd Sander. “Economic conditions are bringing about a fundamental rethinking of local government structures and support strategies. It is clear from the results [of the "Digital Cities Survey"] that digital technology is a critical factor in helping organizations not only maintain, but actually improve service delivery when faced with fewer employees and smaller budgets.”
Read more of Sander’s thoughts about this year’s award recipients on the "Top U.S. Digital Cities" website or in an article released by Government Technology, an e-Republic publication.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info.
The popularity of social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn continues to be on the rise across sectors of business and society, including government. However, there seems to be a certain degree of reluctance among some government agencies and municipalities to fully jump on the proverbial 2.0. band-width-wagon. Government Technology staff writer Russell Nichols points out that NetProspex recently ranked the government services industry behind funeral homes and services in terms of how much different business sectors use social media, in his recent article. NetProspex's chief revenue officer Michael Bird thinks; "Social media is hard for the government to get its arms around," according to the article. "It's transparent and it's out there and in the early stages, a few people tend to do some crazy things," Nicols quotes Bird.
At the same time, more and more government agencies and municipalities are exploring the advantages of Web 2.0. messaging and techology (one of the Center for 21st Century Communities (21c3)'s "Eight Assets"). CNN reports how FEMA chief Craig Fugate found Twitter helpful after a gas explosion in San Bruno, California. An article posted on Project Virginia's website reports how some "Michigan Municipalities Use Social Media to Communicate," from using Nixle to announce emergencies, fires, and traffic accidents, to examples of how communities broadcast information on Facebook and Twitter. A while back, I wrote an article for the Michigan Municipal League's magazine, The Review, about how Madisonville, Kentucky mayor Will Cox used Facebook as an emergency management tool during a catastrophic ice storm.
The American Red Cross published "Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies," this August. For example, they found; "About half of respondents [to their online survey] would sign up for emails, text alerts, or applications to receive any of the emergency information [covered by the survey]." Further resources covering best practices and policies related to social media are listed on the Social Media Subcouncil's website.
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info