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How Well Does Our City Government Use Teh Internetz?

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More and more, local governments are making use of social media to keep in touch with their constituents. Now a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) ranking has taken a closer look at how cities use tools like Facebook and Twitter to apprise the community of what's happening.

Comparing data gathered in 2011 with data gathered in 2009, the UIC study finds that "more than six times as many big city governments reached citizens via Facebook in 2011 compared to 2009, while use of YouTube and Twitter grew fourfold and threefold respectively."

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In addition to taking a look at what kind of information was made available on city websites, from podcasts of recent council meetings to email addresses for civic leaders and departments, the study examined other "new media" practices like Flickr streams, blogs, YouTube accounts, and Twitter feeds, among others.

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More about the study:

The cities' rankings reflected opportunities for citizen participation and information, including:
-- hosting of open data portals
-- comments allowed on blogs and social networks
-- the extent to which online discussions concerned policy as well as city services
-- information on officials, budgets, city council meetings and neighborhood issues

Though Los Angeles ranks second in population among the country's 75 largest cities, we failed to rank in the top 10 for our social media use; New York and Seattle tied for first place, followed by Virginia Beach, Va.; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Kansas City, Mo. SoCal has one shot at bragging rights, though: Long Beach ranked 9th.

“Having a strong social media presence helps the City of Long Beach engage residents with genuine dialogue, and that clearly benefits the community as a whole,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “I’m very pleased that our efforts are paying off with this national recognition.”

So while Mayor Antonio @villaraigosa Tweets (mostly for himself) and is happy to appear in any number of promo videos, L.A. has some catching up to do when it comes to using new media to reach our large population, and to let us reach right back.

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If you want to geek out on some data, charts, and analysis, the portal page to download a .pdf of the study report is here under "CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND LOCAL E-GOVERNMENT: SOCIAL NETWORKING COMES OF AGE."