SeeClickFix works because its users work too.
Recently, a number of people including city officials, bloggers, good citizens, and community leaders have signed up to do their part as SideClicks.
So what does it mean to be a SideClick?
Well if you’re thinking that we want people in cities across America to scream from the rooftops, “SeeClickFix Rules and you should use it,” you’re right, but that’s not all our SideClicks are doing.
Dena Oneal from Murfreesboro, TN learned about SeeClickFix from our recent write-up on CNN.com. She reached out and inquired about becoming a SideClick.
“I have always been active in my communities both personally and professionally,” she wrote. “I believe in working with our local government to solve problems.”
We do too!
“People” she continued, “shouldn't complain if they aren't willing to pitch in and help make a difference, no matter how small.”
A special thanks to Ms. Oneal for her willingness to become a SideClick.
There are about 150 people that have signed up to be SideClicks. Many have offered great suggestions that we have integrated into the tool. Examples include Mark Abraham in New Haven who offered Alice Attertongue as the second Civic Points rank. (Its a Ben Franklin reference) Sid Burgess in Oklahoma who gave us the idea for "SeePrint" where users can print out fliers of their issue and Ted Mann who made the awesome how to videos you see at http://seeclickfix.com/how_seeclickfix_works
To get started visit our Get Involved page.
Once you vow to be a SideClick there’s a lot you can do. Here are some suggestions:
Sign up public officials by creating watch areas for them
Tell friends about SeeClickFix
Tell media about the tool and about issues that might make a good news story
Whip out your cell phone in large crowds and demonstrate how easy it is to report issues via mobile web application
… and of course, scream about SeeClickFix from the rooftops… duh!
Thursday, December 31, 2009 - By Nicole D'Andrea - 2 comments
Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - By Nicole D'Andrea - No comments
Craig Newmark, one of the Godfathers of social networking technologies (also known as the founder of Craigslist.com) used SeeClickFix to report an issue in his hometown of San Francisco.
Using the SeeClickFix mobile web application he reported his issue regarding excessive heat on a public train, and within a week received notification from the city of San Francisco that they were working on the problem.
CNN.com reported about Newmark using the SeeClickFix tool and noted that the technology, GOV 2.0, is a huge part of a new era where public service is no longer a laundry list of to-dos but an interactive world where citizens have more control over what gets done because they are a part of the solution.
As we bid farewell to a decade of all types of new technological advances, it’s nice to know that SeeClickFix is coming out as a leader of a better tomorrow.
Read the whole CNN.com story here.
- By Nicole D'Andrea - No comments
A Chattanooga, TN, hyperlocal news website, chattarati.com, has recently added SeeClickFix to their neighborhood blogs.
Editor, John Hawbaker sees the SeeClickFix tool as an extension of the goal of his websites: to engage Chattanooga citizens with the community around them.
In St. Elmo, a neighborhood around Chattanooga, Hawbaker reported on chattarati.com about local people creating homemade signs encouraging drivers to slow down.
There’s no doubt that SeeClickFix will become a vital tool for the already engaged citizens of Chattanooga while also offering additional support to help connect citizens to government.
STAND, a community visioning effort led by residents across the Chattanooga region helped to bring awareness of SeeClickFix to the area.
Their active role in introducing us to the Chattanooga community has led to sites like chattarati.com embracing SeeClickFix and overall civic engagement with the tool.
And lastly, Liz Henley, Chattanooga 311 Call Center Coordinator, has been working tirelessly to address the concerns of citizens in her city.
Ms. Henley swiftly managed a blighted property concern in Chattanooga.
She was able to conduct a dialogue with a concerned citizen while also facilitating the process of figuring out when the blighted property would be demolished. The original thought was that the property would be evaluated in February 2010, but a concerned citizen noted that the danger of the property far outweighed the benefit of keeping it. Just a handful of days later, the issue was closed with this joyous remark from the initial citizen reporter: “Demolished! Thank you very, very much!”
Our thanks to Ms. Henley and the citizen reporter and a huge thanks to STAND and chattarati.com for spreading the word about how SeeClickFix is a great tool for the big picture of civic engagement.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - By Nicole D'Andrea - No comments
As we brace for yet another bout with Mother Nature, we wanted to take a moment to thank the city for doing a great job of cleaning up our streets after Saturday night’s deluge of snow.
Areas, that residents felt weren’t attended to, were quickly fixed through notification by reporters on SeeClickFix and the diligence of the Livable Cities Initiative. Check out the progress of this issue.
In the future, we’d like to remind reporters that SeeClickFix is also a good place to remind your neighbors of sidewalks that need shoveling in your living area. It’s also a way for neighbors to help neighbors — especially those that may not be able to shovel snow themselves. Cleaning up a city after a big snowstorm is both the responsibility of our government and the good neighborly thing for everyone to do.
So shovels ready? Before we know it, we’ll be waist deep again…
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
We just got a very nice Happy Holidays and thank you for SCF from a block watch using SeeClickFix,
Members of Greenwich Ave. Block Watch 403 asked me to send you a note --
To Thank You for all you've done with SCF also to wish you and yours the HAPPIEST and MERRIEST of Holidays.
HAPPY and MERRY BEN!!!!!
This reminds me to thank everyone who has used, contributed to and advised us over the last year. We are truly grateful for your help and use of the tool and the timing and cultural climate that has allowed SeeClickFix to flourish over the last year.
Happy Holidays to all!
Sunday, December 20, 2009 - By Nicole D'Andrea - No comments
Last week, SeeClickFix had the pleasure of partnering with media outlet Savannahnow.com , in Savannah, Georgia.
Before Savannahnow took the SeeClickFix widget live, their city map was relatively dark with just a handful of issues being reported by citizens.
In a matter of days, the map began to grow and issues like potholes and spilled commercial waste began populating the area.
Then, a few days ago, eight concerned citizens (and counting) stepped up to say they were unhappy about a dangerous bike path. Soon, following the concern, watch areas were created around this bike path for City Council as the city had not yet responded.
But, perhaps the best news from our new partner came in a matter of two hours of an issue being opened.
Concerned about a broken water line cover that was causing cars to get stuck on the road, a concerned citizen reported to SeeClickFix as first-time user and waited to see if and when something would be done.
Two hours later the poster typed, "OMG - it actually works!! in less than 2 hours there is a city worker checking out the problem!! Thank you so much for this tool! KUDOS!"
Issue Closed! A KUDOS back at ya Savannah Citizen without your report, SeeClickFix would not work the way it does.
This seems to be the start of more good things to come for Savannah.
Saturday, December 19, 2009 - By Jennifer H. McFadden - 6 comments
(Guest post by Doug Hardy from the Journal Inquirer)
There is a tremendous role for SeeClickFix at every local newspaper. At the Journal Inquirer we're scratching the surface by using local SeeClickFix reports as story topics and also as a way to develop new sources. I've become something like a consumer advocacy columnist, but it's more like a "homeowner" or "resident" or even a "taxpayer" advocacy columnist. We found that there is real interest in this stuff. I've gotten more responses on my first 8 or 9 SeeClickFix columns than on anything else I've ever done in journalism. It's been fun getting back out into the field.
We haven't completely carried this through to its conclusion yet as a circulation booster or revenue generator. But I'm working on those final steps with our ad people and circulation department.
Why is this valuable? Does it fit with our mission? I won't belabor the overarching truth of the print news industry's situation ... but my assessment of the JI's problems is simple: we're losing core readers with every obit we publish, and we're not adding new readers. We're nowhere near as interactive as we can be. We're losing print advertisers and we're not gaining online advertisers. We're an old product in a new world. Essentially, for a long time we had been putting our print product up on the Web, as is. It's not very interesting to a Web user.
On coverage choices, we're stuck in a local politics rut. Most people don't care about local politics at all, even during election season, but it remains the focus of our coverage. We cover the budget process to death. We tailor our coverage to "locals" but we're tailoring it only to locals who care about, or who are involved in, local gov't. That's no longer good enough. We won't abandon that coverage, but SeeClickFix is a way to insert the JI into neighborhood conversations again and to make us interactive.
When people bump into each other as they walk their dogs, what do they talk about? Potholes, graffiti, speeders, eyesore properties, etc.
I want those people to say, "Hey, I reported that graffiti on SeeClickFix.com and the guy from the JI wrote a story about it, and then the town came out and cleaned it up." So it's true that on some level this is marketing as well as journalism. We're basically trying everything now, within reason, to see what will get people to subscribe. The goal is to improve both our print and online product as inexpensively as possible, and to make them work together rather than undercut each other.
I'd heard about SeeClickFix early on when the New Haven Independent started using it. I kept an eye on it and it really does empower readers to clean up their neighborhoods. Last year I built a JI-Land map on the SeeClickFix site. And then I let it sit for a while. There was maybe a single report in our map when I built it.
Then the Hartford Courant published a story about SeeClickFix's early success as a startup - and basically notified everyone in our region about this new online tool. The day the Courant's story ran, I started receiving emails from new SeeClickFix users who were posting issues within our JI-Land map.
But I began communicating with the people reporting stuff in JI-Land and we eventually added the widget to our home page. We got a SeeClickFixPro account (for $38/month) to better brand everyone with a red JI on my messages. I keep handy our annual Discovery section (with phone numbers for all of our town officials), and started directing people to the departments and staff who could solve their problems, making it as easy as possible for them.
The SeeClickFix widget allows people to report stuff right there on the JI's Web site, and we get that traffic. They can click all the way through to the SeeClickFix site, but it's a good widget that does help keep traffic on our site and can be sized pretty much however you need it.
Pretty soon I was shooting photos and writing columns for print about the issues people were reporting. I posted links to my copy on SeeClickFix to prompt people to subscribe, even if only for 24 hours of access through our paywall, to read what I wrote about their problem. I don't know if that worked, but it was worth trying.
One of our towns requested a meeting with us because they felt that the JI was making it seem like we were responding on their behalf. They wanted us to direct people to their online Citizen Request System, which is great but offers no public comment. We showed the town how to build their own map and now they get notifications and post their own links to their Web site on the issues reported there. We're working with them, rather than against, and believe me they seem to be quickly responding to every SeeClickFix complaint on which I post a comment.
Truth is, a lot of the time town officials simply don't know there's a new pothole or whatever. They just need to be informed and the JI is playing a role in that notification. When I comment on an issue, the town knows we're watching and they know they have to respond or face negative publicity. When I do write for print, we've been starting the columns on Page 1 and that seems to help.
I wrote about an algae-covered pond in a public park in Windsor, and as it turned out the town was about to dredge it anyway. We got the town of Vernon to start the clean-up process on a foreclosed house and yard, and the town got the bank that owned the house to finish the job (as the bank is supposed to do anyway). And then we did 3 or 4 pieces on speeding issues throughout our area. We published a picture of a woman's cat, which had been killed, and I was flooded with emails and phone calls at my desk. We were then contacted by a guy with MS who is in a scooter and has to wear an orange vest and lights to get across the street safely in Windsor Locks. He even added 8-foot orange flags to his scooter to ensure he isn't struck in the crosswalk or in a parking lot. Really compelling stuff.
In South Windsor, people were fed up waiting for the completion of a bridge and we had quite a dialogue about that construction process. People thought the project was abandoned when the workers were off-site, fabricating large pieces.
In another town, an historic mill building is a terrible, empty eyesore and there's been plenty of dialogue on it. The mayor appears to have been sitting on information about the ongoing process of obtaining multiple permits for the building's redevelopment -- controlling information. I'm told that he even threatened a council member with an ethics complaint for bringing up questions about the mill building during a council meeting. He really didn't want the info out there, or so it seemed. But local residents started the dialogue about the mill online, and I responded with a few thoughts and links to background info from the JI's archives. Within 24 hours the mayor responded to me by email and both the developer and town administrator posted public responses about the status of the redevelopment. Good stuff. It's important to note that this is a mayor who has basically stopped communicating with the reporter we'd assigned to the town.
Frankly, I think every reporter who covers a community should be using SeeClickFix, but so far it's just me and one other reporter at the JI, and I'm on the layout desk so it's tough to find the time to do this. You may want to approach it as a team project.
Now the trick is - how do we monetize it?
Further, our circulation managers "sample" neighborhoods all the time - delivering papers for free for three weeks or a month to nonsubscribers. We're looking at ways to coordinate SeeClickFix coverage in those sampling areas to increase our yield when those same managers go door-to-door to try to pick up new subscribers. It'll be pretty powerful to say something like, "we're already looking out for your neighborhood - here's a story."
On sponsors ... we are adding a spot for an ad in the SeeClickFix tab on our home page. We're also planning an "eyesore" project, where I'll write about the worst eyesores in each of our 17 towns. Aside from print, we'll try to produce a short video story about each eyesore as well. Our advertising VP thinks he can sell that kind of package - a print ad for each story, a 5-second pre-roll commercial for each video, and maybe an overall sponsor for the SeeClickFix tab online. Potential advertisers can be any community-minded bank or other business, a local landscaping company, a muffler or tire shop, or even a community organization. We can try to sell to an umbrella sponsor or go town by town.
Associate Editor/Internet supervisor
Thursday, December 17, 2009 - By Nicole D'Andrea - No comments
The City Fix DC's blogger David Daddio has spent the past few months "testing" the power of SeeClickFix and has found it more than useful for his city, particularly, his neighborhood, Adams Morgan.
He notes in his post, three different instances where non-emergency issues were fixed through the help of SeeClickFix and local city officials.
Additionally, Daddio shows that the varying issues were fixed and subsequently closed with the help of multiple active city members working together including Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, DDOT Council Members and Parks Department leaders.
It's a beautiful thing when SeeClickFix brings the community together and an even more beautiful thing when evidence of its effectiveness shows up on the streets of some one's neighborhood.
See the full post here.
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Guerilla Democracy gets Solar Lamp Posts and Saves a piece of History
Two hot issues on SeeClickFix have yielded interesting results this week.
The First an issue of lighting and Public Safety. The Second an issue of saving a piece of history at the Train Station.
Wooster Square Residents who have been rallying for better lighting at the Entrance to their neighborhood were rewarded for their collaborative push to get their voices heard by City Hall on SeeClickFix.
The New Haven Independent reports today that the Mayor, Lt Sweeney and CAO Robert Smuts met with residents to announce that they will be installing the first solar lights at the location where the lack of lighting is causing unrest.
Citizens getting their voices heard in the New Haven Independent and on SeeClickFix has become an important part of an emerging form of community in New Haven where a more direct line to City Hall and each other is creating a stronger democracy.
Here's the NHI Story: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2009/12/the_first_ever.php
SeeClickFix Issue is here: http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/9603
Residents of the New Haven region are also using SeeClickFix and the publicity from the New Haven Independent to negotiate the preservation of a Solari sign at Union Station with the State of CT DOT. 100's of Citizens have voted to save the sign which the DOT has recently said they will be removing for a digital sign. In response to all the clatter the New Haven Independent announced that State DOT Rep Kevin Nursick has proposed keeping the sign in train station as a decorative reminder of the analog days while replacing its functionality with the Digital Sign.
While this might not be the fix for all residents its a great sign (no pun intended) that citizens are able to press a negotiation with a State Agency that is often complained of as unresponsive and far distant from citizen concerns.
That article is Here: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2009/12/dot_suggests_so.php
SeeClickFix issue is here: http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/10494
Whoever said that media was losing its grip as the 4th estate needs to look no further than Hyper Local Capital New Haven for another opinion.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
We're excited to announce that SeeClickFix has been named One of America's most Promising Start-Ups by Business Week.
Read the article here
People have said that we look like a boy band...we would like to be called the Bad Street Boys if it has to go that way. Get It?
- By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
The future of the local social web lies at the confluence of two emerging realities: Government 2.0 and Media 2.0. Here we see social networking tools, user-centered design, wikis, blogs, and mashups being used to create novel networks and platforms that enable a new civic reality: Community 2.0.
Read Jennifer McFadden's Post on Coummunity 2.0 and SeeClickFix on Smarter Planet here:
Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Potholes, Crosswalk Needed, No Lighting, Bike Rack Needed, Rough Rail Crossing, Standing Water, Abandoned Vehicles and Broken Park Drinking Fountains were all reported as needing to be fixed in Louisville Kentucky over the past few weeks.
The City's MetroCall 311 center has responded to all of these issues reported to them through SeeClickFix with work-order numbers generated from their existing service request system.
Check Out Louisville here
Want your Gov to respond to your SeeClickFix issues like Louisville? Create a watch area for them at http://www.seeclickfix.com/government
Don't wait for open government, create it!
Monday, December 7, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
Last night I was live on air with Adriel Hampton, GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler, Steve Lundsford and Andrew Greenhill from the City of Tucson.
The Show is here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gov20/2009/12/07/government-20-radio
Thursday, December 3, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 2 comments
Neighborhood Watch 2.0
Another day, another mugging in a city. However, now citizens have a tool they can use to self-organize, crowdsource solutions to the problem, reach out to relevant public officials, create neighborhood watches, and inform the police.
Last night there was another in what has become a string of muggings at the corner of Olive and Court Streets in New Haven. The incident occurred around 6:00 pm and by 7:30 there was an issue opened on SeeClickFix (http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/10256). As of this posting, 45 people have commented on the thread.
As reported in a story in The New Haven Independent, poor lighting in the area is contributing to the proliferation of crime in the area (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2009/11/ashley_kremzer.php). The problem was first acknowledged in SeeClickFix a month ago (http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/9603.html) and over 133 citizens have joined the conversation to voice concern over the significant public safety issue that has arisen.
Surfing through the comments provides insight into the ways that SeeClickFix can be used to rally support around an issue and engage with government. Several citizens have posted contact information for the New Haven Police Department and Mayor’s office. Others have suggested that citizens form neighborhood watches and attend the Mayor’s open house this evening en masse to discuss the issue. Email alerts have been sent to the Mayor’s office, the Downtown-Wooster Square Management Team, the Downtown-Wooster Square Policing District, and the New Haven Police Department.
And the collective action is beginning to have an impact. Wes on Wooster wrote:
I emailed Mike Piscitelli this afternoon and soon got a return call. He was very supportive and assured me that a number of departments are aware and working on the situation. He also said that a few suspects have just been caught.
I hope that everyone will show up at the neighborhood meeting on the 16th. In the meantime, I hope the NHPD will station a patrol car or unmarked during the evening hours to curtail this dangerous criminal activity.
After an email alert was sent to Alderman Smart’s office, he has jumped into the conversation, acknowledging that the muggings pose a serious public safety issue and that resolution is top on his list of priorities. The Alderman has already contacted the City Engineer to advocate for increased lighting in the neighborhood that will help mitigate the problem in the long-run.
The Wooster Square Block Watch has been intensely involved in advocating for lighting in the area, using SeeClickFix as a tool for rallying support. According to The New Haven Independent, their voices are being heard—the group has a meeting with Traffic Chief Mike Piscitelli and other city officials scheduled for Dec. 16th.
It is amazing to see the positive feedback loop that is being created by the interaction between SeeClickFix and local media outlets in New Haven. Issues are being uploaded on SeeClickFix, The New Haven Independent and The New Haven Register are then jumping onto the thread to source stories, the stories are being used as rallying cries on SeeClickFix to gather support to have the problem fixed, and the increased citizen participation is being conveyed to government officials via email. With coverage on the major news sites, citizens then become more aware of the fact that they have a platform for voicing their concerns to local government officials—and that the officials are actually listening.
As Plato said, “the city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.” When the citizens are vocal, action will follow. Pretty powerful stuff.
-Post Written by Jeniffer McFadden
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