five weeks ago but as of today it still looks like THIS.
By and by I noticed...
...graffiti on a lamp post and a trash can. I began to wish I could call 311 and report it, but it was too late at night for 311. Casually, I wished I could just send a tweet to 311. And then I realized...
Geez, that's a great idea! Why can't I twitter 311 and tell them something like, "Silver graffiti on green painted steel door, 510 Cedar Ave." I can already send 311 an email, so twittering is the next logical step between calling and emailing, isn't it?
There are certain advantages to Twitter which the other systems do not have: the tweets can be instantly shared with the wired world, which includes other folks who may care about the particular problem being reported and might jump in to add more information. (Or, in the alternative, they may realize there's no need to report the problem, now, since it has been reported)
I might also add that it would ALSO be a great idea if citizens could send text messages to 311. (In fact, I submitted this idea to 311 and they gave me reference number 275164) (I also told them 311 "frequent fliers" would be more motivated to dial 311 if we knew our "rankings," whether a particular citizen is the No. 1 caller to 311 or, say, third or fourth)
The more ways people have to contact 311 and get satisfying feedback from the system, the better. Sometimes, it's just more convenient to send a text than to call or email, like when you're on a noisy train and you just spotted graffiti at a train stop. The more ways there are to contact 311, the more likely citizens are to use the system.
So, standing there at the bus stop, feeling overwhelmingly alone without the companionship of my son, which I'd grown quite accustomed to, I sublimated whatever I was feeling into renewed energy for urban revitalization, something I do pretty frequently, and I "twittered" my little idea to the world. Within a few hours, my friend and fellow twitterer Connie Nompelis (No-buhl-iss, it's Greek) had forwarded that tweet to Mayor Rybak. (I'm still figuring out how to forward a tweet, but I'll get the hang of it in no time)
So let me reiterate my idea: Citizens being able to "tweet" 311?