Excerpt from the article: While people still attend town hall and city council meetings to express their frustrations and concerns, many more people — by an order of magnitude — now interact with their local governments without ever stepping foot into municipal buildings. Instead, they use their smart devices to lodge a complaint or to alert public safety and public works about an incident or problem.
It is a phenomenon that is expected to grow, fueled in part by the continuing proliferation of smart phones. According to a study released in July by the Pew Research Center, 35 percent of American adults currently own smart phones; of those in the 25-34 age bracket, 58 percent own smart phones. There is little reason to believe that those numbers will not continue to grow in an aggressive fashion.
Social networking also is fueling the new era of citizen engagement, according to Michael Armstrong, CIO for Corpus Christi, Texas. “Almost all politicians now have Facebook pages, and they’re becoming very comfortable with connecting to people that way,” Armstrong says. “We also have a group of young people coming up who communicate entirely differently than the past several generations. They are connected all the time, and they are social. But they don’t connect face to face — or even voice to voice — anymore. Instead, they’re using the technologies that are available to them on their computers and, increasingly, on their phones.”
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