9 Cities Using Twitter To Foster Transparency With Their Citizens

Your social media presence can improve your municipal transparency. Take a look at these nine accounts for inspiration.

Director & Rochesterian


We’re living in a world driven by technology; so it’s no surprise that one of the best ways to connect with your citizens and increase local government transparency is through social media. Twitter, in particular, is an excellent forum to communicate with your citizens about municipal strategy, happenings, and updates. With tools like Buffer and HootSuite, municipal leaders can easily manage their social media strategy, making it an attractive and simple way to gain trust and foster a relationship.

Below, we’ve outlined nine municipalities that are doing a great job fostering local government transparency and provided some examples of our favorite tweets.

1. Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue does a great job updating citizens about breaking news and warning citizens of any municipal repair work that could cause them issues in their commute or day-to-day travel. They also sprinkle in mentions of meetings at Town Hall and city-wide events that may interest the community.

2. Chesterfield County, Virginia

Chesterfield County has mastered the art of the retweet; they regularly repost happenings from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Chesterfield Library, and others. They’ve also worked to popularize their own hashtag—#cfield—to promote community Twitter involvement.

3. Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia has popularized a hashtag—#wearecolumbia—and uses it regularly in their tweets. It’s not unusual for them to post 20 (or more) times per day. And based on the sheer number of their followers (over 23,000), it seems to work well for them. One unique element about Columbia is their weekly bulletin “City Connection,” which they tweet out each week.

4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale focuses on community involvement and activity in the majority of their tweets. From “neighborhood support nights” to “neighborhood water challenges,” their social media strategy centers on bringing people in the community together.

5. Gahanna, Ohio

Gathering community feedback is one method Gahanna uses to promote local government transparency. They regularly ask citizens to complete city-wide surveys or join in on local events about the state of the city, which is a great way to involve those in the area.

6. Glendale, Arizona

Glendale uses the retweet feature regularly, posting tweets from the Glendale Police Department and others. Everything from safety, to traffic, to football is covered, giving citizens a one-stop-shop for neighborhood happenings.

7. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock has recently used Twitter to promote their new 311 software, which is another great way to increase government transparency. Their tweets are both candid and personal, which is likely why they have over 10,000 Twitter followers.

8. Oceanside, California

Oceanside focuses on hashtags in every post they tweet and retweet to increase their visibility. Many of their posts promote fun community happenings, from movies under the stars, to library concerts, to 5k fun runs.

9. Olathe, Kansas

Olathe does a great job engaging citizens with fun (and humorous) tweets that entertain and inform (like the one below). We recently spoke with Alan Shorthouse—the Assistant Director for the Resource Management Department in Olathe, Kansas—to talk about Olathe’s implementation of the Balanced Scorecard. Be sure to check out the article we put together based on our discussion for some tips and wisdom from him.

In Conclusion

Remember that not every municipal social media strategy will be the same. These four city managers, for example, all have different techniques for increasing interaction, dealing with both positive and negative feedback and much more. So, the most important step is to simply get started! Follow the accounts above for inspiration, and you’ll be sure to glean some helpful information along the way.

9 Cities Using Twitter To Foster Transparency With Their Citizens