I’m attending the International City Manager Conference in Baltimore, Maryland this week and, as always, there are a lot of vendors. When I started my career the vendors were car manufacturers, sellers of fire trucks, street machine vendors, etc. Now they’re almost entirely computer software vendors. There are two vendors that caught my attention.
A couple of City Council meetings ago Councilor Riley Hoagland asked if there is a better way to communicate the City’s story especially combating misinformation. He called it “Hey Lincoln City”. One of the challenges with this task is the number of ways people communicate – text, tweet, facebook, mail, etc. Not only the number of methods to communicate but how quickly people change their methods of communication. The second challenge is just the sheer volume of communication that takes place. How do we ever stay on top of this? It could take several full-time employees just to stay on top of it.
Sure enough, there are vendors selling products to help. The first vendor assembles text messages sent to the City, routes them to the right person and sends a a text when the request is complete.
The second vendor takes it a step further. It assembles communications to the City from all sources – text, twitter, web page, etc. The software then routes the requests to the right department and, when the request is finished, a return message is sent in the same format.
I like these ideas especially if the City can send out questions and solicit input on the issues of the day. I’ll check these out further when I return. Let me know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you soon,