The answer is clear – Yes!

The 3rd post in my 100 Posts Challenge is a local one.  As we currently live in Atlanta, this post mostly focuses here, but the following is relevant to Tel Aviv and any other city.

Like every company in today’s world, a city should use social media. For cities, social media offer a new set of tools that enable a closer interactions with its citizens and visitors. It’s a new channel to listen and to communicate with them. Social media will allow the city to better do its job.

Here are a few idea examples:

  1. A website that includes user generated content about Atlanta from around the web. Think about a (more gentle) version of the Skittles website (Mashable review of Skittles’ site).
  2. Listening: Actively reading and commenting on posts by citizens and visitors.
  3. A twitter account for Atlanta’s neighborhoods: Reply’s to @ConcerenedCitizen, RTs messages from small business owners, twits from community events, twitpic-s form town hall meetings etc.
  4. Google maps layer that updates according to road blocks.
  5. A flickr account for the mayor and council members (President Obama’s flickr sets a great example).
  6. Discounts on city services –  A city or a group offered an idea that was implemented, they will receive a discount.
  7. Aggregating the news of the race for new mayor (CBS Atlanta mayoral race).
  8. Facebook page for cultural events in the city
  9. Host visiting posts by formal visitors of the city.

Atlanta HDR – Mindtown, originally uploaded by Rick_Austin.

There are some limits to be considered:

  • A city offers many types of services. One social media strategy is not enough.
  • The fast phase of social media can be hard to implement within the sometime bureaucratic systems.
  • People who are less fluent users could face lower quality of service.

A personal example: Back in January 2007, I have wrote Way2Renovation – a series of posts in order to renovate the Israeli Independence Hall in my home town, Tel Aviv. It was picked up by member of the city council Ron Leventhal who added it to his agenda.

If you enjoyed the post, please consider sharing it or leaving a comment, and come back on Tuesday for the 4th post in The 100 Posts Challenge.