September 21, 2013
August 14, 2009’s Civic Federation blog post, “Tweeting Towards Transparency (Part 1),” discussed how the Cook County Board’s Twitter account has helped make the proceedings of county board and committee meetings more transparent for Cook County residents. Today’s follow up post approaches improving local government transparency on Twitter from a public awareness and marketing perspective. Specially, this post elaborates on how Twitter accounts of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and the Cook County Assessor are making information about governmental services more accessible to the public.
Forest Preserve District of Cook County’s Twitter account highlights the Forest Preserve’s various attractions and provides a stream of information about events at the District and links to news stories about the District. Twitter provides an outlet for marketing the District’s natural resources to county residents on the web and allows interested members of the public to stay informed with up-to-date announcements about District events, giveaways and programming. Notably, the District’s Twitter account is one facet of the District’s recently launched “68,000 Acres of Adventure” public awareness campaign, which includes various methods of online marketing including Facebook and YouTube accounts for the District.
The Cook County Assessor’s Office’s recently launched Twitter account also provides updates containing information useful county residents. Some updates help keep taxpayers informed of important developments at the Assessor’s Office by providing links to the office’s press releases and news stories relevant to property tax assessments in the county and in its specific townships. Other updates keep taxpayers in the loop about developments relevant to specific townships including information about mailings sent to residents of specific townships or significant trends in certain townships’ assessed valuations. Additionally, the County Assessor’s Twitter account provides updates about events that could be helpful to county residents interested in appealing their property tax assessments.
The Forest Preserve District’s Twitter account and the Assessor’s Office’s Twitter account improve transparency by connecting residents to their respective resources and to useful information in a timely manner. Their Twitter accounts are particularly valuable for improving transparency because they serve as outlets for creating public awareness of local government services and programming. The Forest Preserve District and County Assessor’s Twitter page can assist Cook County’s residents in taking advantage of local government services that they might not have otherwise known were available to them. The speed and ease with which Twitter accounts can be updated allow these local governments to post updates and make helpful information immediately available to its residents and can serve as a valuable tool for allowing local governments to show they are serving their citizens’ needs.