MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER RACHEL STERNE UNVEIL NEW INITIATIVES TO ACHIEVE NYC'S FUTURE AS THE NATION'S LEADING DIGITAL CITY
Digital Road Map Outlines Public/Private Partnerships with Major Digital Companies Including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare Announced for 1st Time Live in Online Discussion Using Streaming Technology
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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne today announced the City's comprehensive strategy that calls for New York to be the country's leading digital city by 2014. At the Mayor's direction, Sterne compiled a digital road map - a 90-day report created in collaboration with numerous City agencies and based on meetings with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors as well as citizens from all five boroughs. The digital road map is divided into four pillars - Access, Open Government, Engagement and Industry - and unveils upcoming partnerships with a range of social media companies including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. These partnerships will allow the City to engage with residents in a more efficient and unified manner, giving New Yorkers the opportunity to connect with their government using the latest advances in digital communication. The Mayor was joined by Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne via live video from the Bullpen at City Hall before unveiling the report in the Blue Room with Carole Post, Commission of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DOITT), Seth Pinsky, President of the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment.
"New York City has taken great strides in the last nine years with digital innovation," said Mayor Bloomberg. "More than 25 million people visit NYC.gov each year, which is nearly the same amount of people who come to Central Park. This digital roadmap paves the way for the coming years of innovation in City government and demonstrates the importance of everyone having access to new technological advancements and resources. I want to applaud Rachel Sterne's efforts in crafting this report."
"Mayor Bloomberg has provided an opportunity to really examine the way that City government innovates digitally." Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne. "In the course of my meetings and research, I"ve found that New York City already leads the way in so many areas. We now have the opportunity to build on the work that is already happening and bring it to the next level. I want to thank DoITT Commissioner Post and NYC EDC President Pinsky for all of their achievements as well as their staff's contributions in the creation of this roadmap. I'd also like to commend the Mayor for the leadership he has shown as one of the pioneers of technology innovation."
New York City's website - nyc.gov - engages approximately 2.8 million visitors per month and has an additional audience of over 1.2 million users through social media. Over the next eighteen months, the City will work on a comprehensive redesign of nyc.gov to make it even more user-friendly. For the first step of this initiative, in close collaboration with DoITT, the City will host its first "Hackathon," inviting web designers and developers to spend a weekend together creating possible prototypes for the new nyc.gov. The Hackathon will be hosted by General Assembly and NYC Digital on June 18th. Pioneers in the field of digital engagement will help shape what the direction of NYC.gov and provide valuable ideas to the City as well as opportunities for mentoring individual city agencies.
In the next three months, the City will unveil new partnerships with Facebook, Twitter, Forusquare and Tumblr. The City will launch its custom Foursquare badge encouraging visits to City spaces such as parks, and will launch the @nycgov Twitter account as a "one-stop shop" for providing residents with real-time updates on crucial news and City services. Through "Fast Follow," city residents can subscribe to @nycgov Twitter updates via SMS simply by texting "follow nycgov" to 40404. Neither a computer nor Twitter account is required to receive @nycgov Tweets via SMS text message.
The partnership with Facebook will be launched over the next 45 days and will include the City's first Facebook streamlined page, as well as FAcebook sharing features on nyc.gov. Over time, citizens will have hte opportunity to voice their opinions, engage in discussions, ask questions, access 311 information, and participate in citywide polls. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Foursquare are providing the City with help in communicating and reaching a broader audience.
"As the technologies New Yorkers use keep advancing, City government evolves to ensure services are delivered in the most effective and innovative ways," said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. "Our Digital Roadmap is a milestone on that journey - blazing hte path by which New York City will continue to master the digital age."
New York City has experienced explosive growth in the digital sector over the last decade," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. "This new digital roadmap will make government more accessible to the public, allowing us to communicate more effectively about our City's assets to local and global audiences and supporting our efforts to compete in the 21st century economy."
Sterne was appointed in January as Chief Digital Officer, as part of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment with a mission to streamline and enhance the City's digital media and serve as a conduit to the tech community in New York City. In drafting this report, she reached over 4,000 points of contact through meetings, emails, digital communications on social networking sites, phone calls and other means of communicating. This report represents the most exhaustive look at the digital city as a whole that has ever been put together.
"This holistic digital strategy sets the tone for digital communications in New York City in the coming years," said Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver. "This is a City that never stops evolving and is always on the forefront of the next big thing. Implementing this report will continue to make New York City the place where the next Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, Google or Tumblr can keep thriving. We need to do everything we can to keep building that environment and that's what we are doing in New York."
"With the launch of @nycgov and the expansion of its other efforts on Twitter, the City of New York is investing in an exciting new generation of community engagement," said Adam Sharp, Twitter's manager of government and political partnerships. "Now, New York City Twitter users will be able to instantly connect to even more of the meaningful information and essential services they care about. We applaud Mayor Bloomberg and Chief Digital Officer Sterne for their leadership on this initiative."
"Foursquare grew out of the New York tech scene, and we are super excited to continue to contribute to the growth of that community and to New York's emergence as the nation's leading digital city," said Foursquare Co-Founder Dennis Crowley.
"Of the many things that make this city the greatest in the world, one of the most vital elements is to protect and improve New York's efficient flow of information," said Tumblr CEO John Maloney. "Tumblr is ecited to help Mayor Bloomberg and Rachel STerne to facilitate a real peer-to-peer communication between the city's government and its citizens."
City agencies currently manage over 200 social media channels. Part of the role of the Chief Digital Officer is to take steps to streamline the digital communication process and create a more centralized mechanism for exchanging information. This will involve training for agencies that currently use social media, working with social media companies, and creating an advisory group within city government called "SMART" (Social Media Advisory and Research Taskforce). SMART will be responsible for managing Citywide social media feeds including Facebook and Twitter, providing recommendations on social media tools and strategies, assisting other City agencies on social media, evaluating new platforms; and updating guidelines and policies.
The public can read the report at nyc.gov or by downloading the NYC MEdia App to their mobile device or through the city's digital media outlets.
NYC Digital is part of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, which consists of the Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, NYC Digital, and NYC Media -- the official TV, radio and online network of the City of New York. The agency's mission is to streamline government communications by making information accessible, leveraging technology to aid in the transparency of government and by supporting relevant media and entertainment industries in New York City.