San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom/Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo: Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone announced at a press conference this week that residents can make 311 customer service requests or complaints to the city's call center using Twitter, a social networking platform that lets users share messages called "tweets" of no more than 140 characters.

Residents can tweet into the city's call center about various services like graffiti removal, potholes, garbage maintenance and street cleaning. Mobile users can also send messages and pictures using a third-party application.

"I think, and [Biz Stone] can correct me if I'm wrong, we are the first city in the country, if not in the world, to actually combine this new two-way communication technology with a 311 call center as a new way to communicate directly and through mobile devices with the citizens of the city and county of San Francisco," said Chris Vein, the city/county CIO and executive director of San Francisco's Department of Technology. Vein oversaw the project along with Nancy Alfaro, director of the San Francisco 311 Customer Service Center.

"We're just excited to be first in the nation to use a social networking platform to handle service requests this way," said Alfaro.

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Karen Stewartson, Managing Editor Karen Stewartson  | 

Karen Stewartson served as the managing editor of Government Technology for many years. She also contributed to Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.