5 Ways the City of L.A. Should Be Using Twitter

Imagine if there was a way for the LAPD to blast out the license plate number and vehicle description of a recent carjacking to cell phones city wide? Or if the DWP could send a text notifying residents of power outages and updates so customers didn’t have to jam their phone lines asking WTF? Or how about if City Hall could notify informed citizens of how Council voted on measures affecting the city?

And what if this tool was free, easy to implement and update, and already widely used?

Of course, Twitter can already handle all this. But so far, only the Los Angeles Fire Department has fully tapped into its potential with frequent alerts of responses to fires in the City. More recently, the MTA has been experimenting with it, notifying residents of bus and subway delays and upcoming board meetings. And in the past few days City Council President Eric Garcetti has joined the bandwagon, most recently alerting subscribers to a suspicious package in Hollywood and the resulting traffic jam.

So the question is, who else should be using Twitter?

Top 5 Los Angeles agencies and services that should be using Twitter.

1) @LAPD, from what I can tell, is not actually maintained by the Los Angeles Police Department, and it’s a shame. Imagine if our local law enforcement had a free and easy way to reach out to the community with urgent missing persons or other crime reports? Descriptions of fleeing suspects could be sent out, especially easy details such as license plate numbers. Ideally, each precinct and/or division would utilize its own Twitter account to help ensure that the info remains locally relevent and subscribers don’t get burned out with too many alerts.

2) You can report graffitti by calling 311 or filling out a form on this website – and everyone I know who has used either have reported action withing 48 hours. But why not make this even easier and let people send a tweet with an address of tagging and other graf?

3) Ever have your power go out and you find yourself on hold with the DWP because of “an unusually high number of calls?” Wouldn’t it be nicer if the DWP would send out tweets notifying consumers of outages and repair progress?

4) Every city council district should have its own Twitter account to notify residents of Council motions pertaining to their area, along with other notable news and events in their district. (and no reason individual neighborhood councils can’t do the same).

5) City Hall itself should be tweeting out items with regularity, sending out a message letting us know how City Council has voted on every measure, reminding people of local holidays.

Of course, not everyone is interested in Twitter, but once set up there these agencies can easily utilize other services that can get out their messages that work in tandem. Alerts that go to Twitter can automatically be posted on message boards, sent via email, and even be broadcast through conventional text messaging.

Any other ideas for how the City of Los Angeles can utilize Twitter or other digital services?

7 thoughts on “5 Ways the City of L.A. Should Be Using Twitter”

  1. METRO! In the ideal world, we’d get above-ground notice that the Red Line is running 10 minutes late, so you can take a few minutes to eat your sandwich instead of smushing it inside your jacket pocket and praying that the security guys don’t notice the smell of the pastrami.

  2. A tool that’s free, easy to implement and update, and already widely used? They’ll never go for it. They should, though, and these suggestions are a great place to start.

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