Kudos to Kansas City, Missouri. The city’s government recently rolled out a Twitter account as a digital counterpart to its traditional 311 call-center services.  Kansas City’s 311 Twitter account, @KCMO311, aims to provide another avenue of communication between citizens and the government that addresses citizen-reported problems.

All citizens have to do is Tweet the problem, such as a pothole, along with its location at @KCMO311, and one of the call-center representatives will file a case request that the resident can then track online.

Government 2.0 keeps the city accountable

A serious step towards an open government, this service is significant for two reasons. First, citizens of Kansas City can now hold their government accountable. If citizens see a pothole they want fixed, they have a direct line of contact to the city. And, importantly, the citizens can track the progress of their request online, meaning that their problem will not be inadvertently lost in the shuffle or brushed under the rug.

Government 2.0 keeps the city available

Secondly, the new 311 Twitter account demonstrates a city that wants to interact with its citizens. The Kansas City municipal government understands that for many citizens, directly speaking to a city representative can be time-consuming, especially when the complaint is small. However, governing successfully means governing on all levels, from the macro to the micro. And while fixing potholes might seem mundane, being able to address these issues effectively and transparently truly points to the city’s to priority: its citizens.

A success story of government 2.0

Since its inception on March 6th, @KCMO 311 has gained 439 followers and has created 66 service requests resulting from citizen Tweets. For example, Kevin Carlyle tweeted at @KCMO311 about a broken parking meter along with a picture on March 18th.

It received a response that same day from @KCMO311 along with a service request code. And, within 24 hours, the meter was fixed. So, while fixing a parking meter might sound humdrum, the Kansas City government’s focus on engagement is allowing citizens and the government to improve the city through joint communication and effort.