New York City Government Embraces the Digital Age

How does one know that social media has become the rule and not the exception? When a city government embraces it as a means to open up information to its constituents. This was showcased in a panel that some of our Utterly Orange writers attended as a part of Social Media Week (SMW). SMW is an international network of conferences that was founded in New York City and is currently in its third year.

The City took this opportunity to showcase its new digital strategy by hosting a panel that included Rachel Sterne, the newly appointed Chief Digital Officer. Rachel is a 27-year-old entrepreneur who will help guide Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration into the 21st century. Also on the panel were Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post and Seth Pinsky, who heads the NYC Economic Development Corporation.

The main focus of the panel discussion was to emphasize what NYC is doing to open up more information and spur dialogue from its citizens. NYC has so much information that is important to New Yorkers, but there needs to be a way for people to access it easily. Social media and technology applications will be vital tools to get this done.

Along with contests such as BigApps, which gives any developer access to public data for the purpose of developing mobile applications to utilize it, the Bloomberg Administration is implementing several initiatives to draw entrepreneurs in the digital realm to NYC. In the next 90 days, Sterne will be issuing a report outlining recommended changes to NYC’s current use of technology.

On a side note, it was very interesting to see the large number of iPad and smartphone users rapidly typing away during the panel. Some were typing notes; others were participating in the real-time Twitter conversation. With this many skilled, young people involved, it seems NYC will have no problem becoming a 21st-century city.

What would you like to see your government do to engage with its citizens using these platforms?

Authors: Dustin Hill and Stephanie Huston

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