NYC Digital part of the mayor's office of media and entertainment
Engagement: A User-Centric Experience

Dig in to New York City's 2012 Digital Roadmap:Progress and Innovation.
Download the pdf here or navigate through each section using the icons below.


The ways through which New Yorkers communicate, find information and connect with friends and family are changing rapidly as a result of the explosive growth of social media. In order to serve and inform New Yorkers in a way that is accessible, convenient and rewarding, the City of New York is committed to enhancing its digital media presence, from to social media. Fueled by enthusiastic agency engagement, the City's social media reach has expanded to over 2.4 million followers across more than 280 cahnnels, including existing channels such as Facebook, Twitter and iOS apps and new adoptions of Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest, Soundcloud, Tumblr and the Android mobile operating system.

The public success of the City's digital media efforts has been recognized over the past year by several awards and studies, including New York City's first time ranking as No. 1 for civic engagement online by the University of Chicago at Illinois and O'Reilly Media's GovFresh City of the Year award. The Webby Awards presented Mayor Bloomberg with a Webby Award for Lifetime Achievement. And at this year's Shorty Awards, the Mayor was honored by Dennis Crowley with the "Foursquare Mayor of the Year" Award.

Other city agencies won awards in social media including the FDNY which won a Shorty Award for the #LifeSavingHero category. The Department of Transportation's Daily Pothole Tumblr was named one of "The 100 Best Tumblrs of All Time" by Complex Magazine while NYC & Company recieved a Webby Award in the tourism website category.  


Launch an Official New York City Apps Hub

Shortly after the Digital Roadmap was released in 2011, the City launched its first App Hub, featuring the City's ten official apps and selected winners from NYC BigApps. Since the introduction of the Digtial Roadmap, the City of New York has launched or updated five new apps, including ABCEats, which enables New Yorkers to instantly look up the health inspection grades of restaurants nearby; NYC Stuff Exchange, which helps users donate, buy or sell gently used goods; and NYC Media, which provides on-the-go, location-aware access to short videos about interesting restuarants and cultural venues across the five boroughs. Visit to see the available apps, which are all free of charge.


Expand 311 Online through Smartphone Apps, Twitter and Live Chat

Today, users can connect with 311 to access New York City government services and information through telephone, 311 Online, a smartphone app, text messaging, Skype or Twitter, where @311NYC has over 30,000 followers. And to make government services more accessible to non-English speakers, 311Online is available in over 50 languages. With the 311 iPhone app, users can report problems, tag locations using GPS, take a photo and access frequently asked questions regarding City services. The City also introduced 311 via SMS on mobile phones, allowing New Yorkers to simply text service requests.

in 2012, 311 will continue to expand 311 Online through the addition of Frequently Askeed Questions and creating a new interaction experience by incorporating customer-generated questions and 311-provided answers as part of the 311 Online offering.
  • 311 will also increase customer self-service options for submitting service requests via 311 Online by integrating with existing systems and leveraging the existing 311 Inquiry API as source information for other self-service options
  • 311 will scale its one-to-many approach by expanding customer channels, including moving the text program from pilot to production, re-launching a robust mobile app for iPhone and Android users and implementing a tiral program for an online chat feature.
  • 311 will expand its social media presence by re-launching the NYC311 Facebook page, enhancing its Twitter presence and exploring an NYC311 presence in other sites based on customer needs and interests.

Implement a Custom URL for to Encourage Sharing
The City has partnered with to provide a custom link-shortener that shortens any webpage link to begin with With the NYC Gov shortlink, users know that anytime they see a custom link, it will direct them to an official New York City government webpage. To date, thousands of links have been generated, providing valuable insights to agencies on the most widely shared and visited content available to the public.

NYC Gov Streamlines Social
Independent research with New York City's digital partners reveals that New York City engages in social media more than any other region in the country. In February 2012, Mayor Bloomberg launched five cnetral digital media channels for City information as part of Social Media Week. In response, the NYC Gov social media channels - on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare and YouTube - allow the City to effectively engage residents by providing instant access to relevant and useful information about life in the City. NYC Digital maintains each of the pages, as outlined in the first Digital Roadmap.

The Citywide accounts provide a one-stop shop for New Yorkers to stay tuned into City news and services, and help them discover interesting information curated from across the City's agency-specific channels.


Launch Official Facebook Presence to Engage New Yorkers and Customize Experience
NYC Gov's Facebook page which has over 30,000 likes, enables New Yorkers to get all the information they need in one place and share it with friends. NYC Gov's Facebook includes videos, new City initiatives, interactive features such as polls and contests and a Citywide events calendar, allowing residents to engage with the City of New York and other New Yorkers on NYC Gov's Facebook wall. Visit

To kick off the new Facebook presence, the City hosted its inaugural Facebook photo contest #loveNYC in March of 2012, encouraging New Yorkers to submit photos showing why they love their city. Fans submitted nearly 2,000 photos, from snapshots of local neighborhoods and parks to favorite NYC moments. A panel of digitally creative judges, which included Jen Bekman, founder of 20 x 200, and @Fashion Instagram photographer, Malachy Sherlock, picked the top 10 photos to post to Facebook for public voting. The winning photo was featured on the City's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and displayed in Times square, and the winning photographer was NYC's official Instagrammer for a day.

Reaching more than 2.3 million individuals through 280+ social media channels, the City of New York keeps New Yorkers informed on all topics, news and alerts related to life in the City, while celebrating their NYC stories. Here is a list of the City's top Facebook and Twitter accounts with the largest following as of August 2012.

"Like" the Top 10 Facebook Pages#FF the Top 10 Twitter Accounts
Stories and news from the New York City Fire Department
Updates straight from the Mayor's Office
2. NYPD: 64,524
Latest news, information and crime prevention tips from the New York City Police Department
2. @NYCGO: 61,188
The official guide to New York City
Find tips on events, things to do and places to eat in the City.
3. @NOTIFYNYC: 41,398
Emergency notifications and alerts from the Office of Emergency Management
Where New Yorkers discuss healthy eating and active living.
4.@NYPDNEWS: 37,899
News from the New York City Police Department
5. CITY OF NEW YORK: 28,667
One-stop-shop for all the vital information on living in New York City.
5. @FDNY: 32,535
Updates from the New York City Fire Department.
Stay informed on New York City public schools
6. @311NYC: 30,807
New Yorkers' source for City government services
7. NYC CONDOM - GET SOME!: 18,940
Discuss safe sex
7. @NYCGOV: 30,407
Official New York City government Twitter feed.
Find free events, activites and tips for public parks and spaces in the City.
8. @NYCPARKS: 27,477
The latest on public parks, beaches and spaces.
Plans for, responds to, and informs New Yorkers about emergencies in the City.
9. @NYCSCHOOLS: 24,739
School information from the new York City Department of Education.
10. NYC MAYOR'S CUP: 12,484
A series of 12 sporting events that determines the Best in the City.
10. @NYC_DOT: 17,006
Posts updates and vital information for the City's transportation services and roads.

Launch @NYCgov, a Central Twitter Account and One-stop Shop of Crucial News and Services

Above: @NYCgov on Twitter

Reaching over 31,000 followers, @nycgov captures the pulse of new York City government with tweets about news and serviecs that affect their lives. Residents can find out if alternate side parking rules are in effect and whether schools are in session, read about free events in their neighborhood, recieve emergency notifications, watch live video broadcasts from Mayor Bloomberg and learn about new City programs as soon as they launch.


Launch a New York City Tumblr Blog Featuring City Stories

NYC Gov on Tumblr

NYC Gov's Tumblr is a microblog with over 13,200 followers that publishes frequent updates on the topics that matter most to New Yorkers, like schools, jobs, getting around the City and more. The NYC Gov Tumblr features up-to-the-minute announcements, exclusive photos from City events and Mayoral visits, as well as quick videos that answer frequently asked questions on City services. The Tumblr also regularly "reblogs," or features, photos by Tumblr users showing life in the City through the eyes of New Yorkers. Users can browse posts by major themes, share them by reblogging, and even submit a question to Mayor Bloomberg with the #AskMike feature. The innovative design theme is unique to the City of New York and features a dynamic city skyline graphic that reflects changes in the color of the sky based on real-time feeds from the NSKYC project managed by Mike Bodge. 

Launch a Foursquare Badge that Encourages Use of New York City's Free Public Places
NYC Gov's Foursquare presence includes a custom Big Apple Badge, lists and tips for a range of public City spaces across the five boroughs. Whether New Yorkers are riding the Staten Island Ferry or walking in Central Park and interested in finding out about more to do in the area, NYC Gov's Foursquare account, which has nearly 25,000 followers, brings them fun, helpful facts each time they check in to City places - all while they earn a Foursquare badge.


Integrate Crowdsourcing Tools for Emergency Situations and used the evacuation zone dataset from the NYC Open Data platform to create their own versions of theHurricane Evacuation Map, reaching even more New Yorkers at the most critical time and with the most accurate information.

In August 2011, when Hurricane Irene threatened to batter the East Coast and the City issued an evacuation order for certain areas, New YOrkers needed to know if they were at risk of flooding or other damage. To keep the public informed and monitor the situation digitally, the City leveraged a range of social media and crowdsourcing tools online. The results demonstrated the potential of these technologies to assist emergency preparedness and response efforts.

The City published evacuation maps and updates on Facebook, and at several press conferences, Mayor Bloomberg encouraged New Yorkers to follow updates on @nycmayorsoffice. Twitter also partnered with the City to support communication, featuring tweets from @nycmayorsoffice prominently to users who self-identified as based in the boroughs. Over the course of that weekend in late August, the City's Twitter follower count soared from 24,000 to over 54,000 and over 400,000 tweets, resulting in more than two million impressions that included the @nycmayorsoffice handle.

On the video front, all nine press conferences were streamed live online to web, iPhone and iPad devices. The videos were added to YouTube and garnered more than 60,000 views during the weekend.

In open data, NYC Digital reached out via Meetup to the data analysis community in the early days of Hurricane Irene's trajectory, encouraging expert designers and developers to take advantage of the geographic shape-files corresponding to hurricane evacuation zones, available free of charge on the NYC Open Data platform.

Several major media outlets ultimately used the NYC Open Data platform to launch their own versions of the hurrican evacuation zone maps, helping crucial, official City data reach an estimated 1500% more New Yorkers. This development illustrates the potential for open data to help the City of New York scale its reach and serve individuals at little to no cost.

Public response to the social media engagement was overwhelmingly positive, with New Yorkers stating - on Twitter - that they felt secure, informed and connected to New York City government throughout the incident.


The infographic shows that social media and digital communications played an integral role in the City's public communications during Hurricane Irene.

Introduce SMART, a Team of the City's Social Media Leaders
In June 2011, NYC Digital introduced SMART, the City of New York's Social Media Advisory and Research Taskforce. Members include leading social media managers across the City who help shape policy and identify new tools for adoption. SMART members meet monthly and participate in new product trials, evaluate emerging digital services, provide recommendations on social media guidelines and policies and advise the Mayor's Office.

Through SMART, the City has recommended a range of new social media platforms for agency use, including, Broadcastr, Foursquare, Instagram, SoundCloud and Tumblr. SMART has also been integral to the development of the redesign, Engage NYC, the #lovenyc photo contest and the .nyc TLD as well, offering input and feedback as all of these varied initiatives have progressed.

John LaDuca
Department of
Christopher Long
Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
Judith Graham Kane
Office of Emergency Management
Tom Hughes
Department of Parks and Recreation
Michael Flowers
Office of Policy and Strategic Planning
Margot Schloss
Mayor's Office
Robin Lester Kenton
Department of Transportation
Trista Sordillo
New York City Economic Development Corporation
Rachel Sterne
NYC Digital
Amanda Konstam
Mayor's Office
Jean Wineberg
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Ellis Whitman
Adam Kuban
NYC & Company
Stephen Louis
Law Department
Katherine Winningham
Law Department
Julie Wood
Mayor's Office

Guided by SMART, the City hosted Engage NYC, its first annual social media summit, in September 2011. Held at the Paley Center for Media, the event welcomed over 100 people from across City government and featured presentations and strategic training on how to effectively use social media platforms to engage, inform and serve New Yorkers.

The morning kicked off with inspiring remarks by Deputy Mayor for Governmental Affairs and Communications Howard Wolfson and a surprise visit by Mayor Bloomberg, energizing the audience and conveying the importance of social media to the City's communications strategy.

Throughout the event, representatives from social media platforms including, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr and Twitter answered questions and presented best practices for leveraging their tools.


Highlighted Digital Launches from 2011 - 2012

NYC DOT collected 10,000 station location suggestions for the City’s Bike Share initiative

To help determine locations for the City's upcoming bike share program, the Department of Transportation partnered with local development firm OpenPlans to create a participatory website featuring a dynamic map that allows New Yorkers to pinpoint their desired bike share locations on a map of the five boroughs. So far, there have been over 9,900 submissions. To view the map, visit

New Yorkers can share and learn how to prepare healthy recipes on the NYC Healthy Recipes Tumblr, a crowdsourced digital cookbook that has garnered over 100 recipes from the public and nonprofit organizations such as City Harvest. Featuring recipes for herb-roasted chicken with broccoli, yogurt-cucumber dipping suace, leek soup and many other dishes, the Tumblr was launched by the Food Policy Coordinator to encourage healthy eating for all new Yorkers


In March 2012, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched a digital campaign to support the Health Department's Nicotine Patch and Gum Annual Giveaway. As part of their goal to create conversations and engagement around the Giveaway program, the agency identified and reached out to digitally savvy influencers, including Jeff Meltz, Jill Hanner, Jennifer Lee and many others in the NYC area to share what "Quitting is..." means to them. As the influencers shared their storylines through creative PSAs on the NYC Quits Facebook Page and on their own social networks, conversatiosn started to rally around personal stories of overcoming smoking and built awareness for the Giveaway program. With a wide range of personal stories being shared on the NYC Quits Facebook Page, the Health Department also used Facebook ads and sponsored stories to drive increased social awareness to the campaign.

Jill Hanner tweets why she quit smoking for the NYC Quits Smoking campaign 


Above:Inform NYC

Creating useful, effective content goes hand-in-hand with developing a successful social distribution strategy. One of the City's priorities is to streamline information about City services, in line with New York's widely praised 311 customer service system. To help achieve that goal, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment unveiled the 50-video series Inform NYC, providing New Yorkers with concise, useful shorts featuring information based on the most frequent questions asked of 311. The videos provide helpful tips on what to do for a variety of situations, including how to report street noise, request a birth certificate and locate an item left in a taxi, among others. Inform NYC is available on; the NYC Gov social media channels, on the City's television stations and in taxi cabs.

NYC Gov's newly launched YouTube channel features curated playlists of videos from all City agencies. Residents can find visual answers to the most common 311 questions through Inform NYC and enjoy entertaining videos on the history of the City. Viewers can also watch videos of Mayoral events, interviews with New Yorkers and videos from NYC Media, the city's official network.

See real-time Foursquare check-ins within NYC Parks’ properties


New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (NYCDPR) unveiled an interactive map, displaying markers for each time a visitor checks in using Foursquare to one of over 1,250 NYC Parks locations. These visitors can get tips on fun and interesting things to do as they explore the park or recreational facility and view "to-do" lists created by the NYCDPR. The City expects to see more than one million Foursquare check-ins to public parks and spaces over the next year. 


Public Library Digital Initiatives

Public libraries across the five boroughs are experiencing a renaissance thanks to their vital role in connecting New Yorkers to technology resources and the internet. Today, there is Wi-Fi in every branch of every library in the City's three library systems: Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library and Queens Library. To server public demand, libraries are investing in infrastructure with federal broadband grants, expanding technology training and digitizing their offerings.


The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is Brooklyn's largest provider of free Wi-Fi and offers access to computers and the internet for tens of thousands of Brooklynites. System-wide, BPL offers approximately 1,300 public-access computers, and each year, on average, the Library provides 2.3 million personal computer sessions. Since 2010, BPL has expanded its broadband internet capacity by 77%, and last year, BPL significantly enhanced technology programs and resources at eight of its libraries located in underserved communities. These libraries now offer a total of 95 new lending laptops for use inside the library, roughly three times as many computer classes, and increased broadband internet speed. Since July 2011, these libraries have offered more than 40,000 laptop sessions, for a total of over 60,000 hours of laptop usage. In December 2011, BPL also opened a state-of-the-art, 50-seat Computer Center at the Central Library. The new Center is the largest technology hub in the Brooklyn Public Library system and features the first rollout of the Library's next generation of public computers.

Over the past year, the New York Public Library (NYPL) partnered with the company Bibliocommons to launch a new catalog that has quickly become the most popular page at The new catalog has better search functionality and interactive features such as user generated "lists" of recommended books. This interactive resource brings together patrons from NYPL and beyond, including all of Bibliocommons' participating libraries.

Photo provided by the New York Public Library.

To increase access to NYPL's material and reach a wider group of individuals, NYPL partnered with design and technology firm Potion to transform its old collections magazine into the Library's first-ever iPad app. The first edition launched in May 2011 and highlighted the Library's 1939-1940 World's Fair collection. Through original essays, digitized photos and letters, video and audio and more, the app - which Apple Inc. named best education app of 2011 - recreated the feel of exploring the Library's holdings at home, giving anyone the opportunity to research the World's Fair. A second edition of the app launched in spring 2012.

In Queens, more than three million library usrs access 1,550 public-use computers and 600 laptops, and many more use Wi-Fi with their own devices. queens Library also offers courses to improve digital literacy and free computer workshops available in English, Spanish, Chinese and other languages. In addition to adult education at all levels, queens Library offers a free, open portal for advanced online training and internationally-recognized certification for high-value tech skills, such as Cisco certification, Six Sigma, CompTIA Strata and more. In total, over 1,000 people are counseled every month on job-specific technology skills from resume writing to software training. Finally, the library reference service is now available via text, email or chat, and users have the option to borrow a Nook with their library card.


Explore the Digital Roadmap Online
Dig in to New York City's 2012 Digital Roadmap:Progress and Innovation.
Download the pdf here or navigate through each section using the icons below.

Open Government: Innovation and TransparencyIndustry: A Vibrant Digital Sector