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Tweet for Pune

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

In Barcamp Pune 5, I gave a presentation on why you should be on twitter. I also asked Ranjit Gadgil and Anupam Saraph to give a presentation on the Pune Governance wiki that they have been nurturing for the last 6 months. As a result of these presentations, various twitter related initiatives are getting started with respect to e-governance in Pune. Pravin Nirmal implemented a system where every ward page on the Pune Governance wiki shows the latest tweets related to that ward. (See for example, the bottom of the Aundh Ward page.) Pune Mirror also has a story on other such initiatives.

Last week, Anupam Saraph wrote this post on how everybody should “tweet for Pune”. We are reproducing it here:

Imagine you could SMS to everyone. Imagine you could let everyone know there is a traffic jam at the University circle. Imagine you could send out an invite to the tree-planting drive on the Baner Hill. Imagine you could message the world that admissions open for the educational course you have been waiting for. Imagine you message out reports of malaria in your neighborhood or choose to report births, deaths, suspicious activities, new shops, sale offers, rentals….

Imagine as a government agency you message out water closures. Imagine you message out flood alerts, road closures or diversions, bus, train and air departures or arrivals, waste collection notices, new project announcements, vip visits, dates of elections, urls of actionable sites…

That’s like a twitter of birds- hundreds of messages all at once…No wonder that these public messages sent on the internet are called tweets.

Of course you do not want to have thousands of tweets clogging up your life and that’s why tweeters like @pravinnirmal are enabling location specific tweets on pages at the governance wiki. See the tweets at the bottom of this page on the governance wiki. Give it a try. This way you can see the tweets sent by anyone on a location on a page devoted to that location. You can even go edit that page and add your two-cents worth.

You can also signup on tweeter and choose to follow tweeters like myself, Barack Obama or anyone else! By following a tweeter you can see all the tweets the person sends out. Others interested in your tweets may choose to follow you too.

With the White House tweets, the US senate floor tweets, the US house floor and even the US Supreme Courts on twitter tweeting away, should the rest of the world be behind?

Cities in the US have begun tweeting. Look at: San Marcos, Texas, Greensborocity, North Carolina, Killeen, Texas, Round Rock, Texas, McAllen, Texas, Plano, Texas. The Police in Austin, Texas, are using tweets for law and order advisories, notices and quick reassurances.

Can we have our ward officers, the Pune Police, the Pune RTO, the Pune Collector, the PMC, the PCMC, the Cantonment Boards, the MIDC, the PWD, the telecom companies in Pune, the Income Tax commissionerate, the Service tax commissionerate, the Pune University and even the businesses in Pune tweet?

All this is simple and free. Just sign into Twitter and start listening to the whole world- or talking too! Well not exactly the whole world, but to the whole world signed into twitter. If you are a government agency or a business in Pune you may qualify for some help and customization to get your tweets increasing your impact and effectiveness. Just email cio.pune@gmail.com to request your office to show the way to the rest of India.

About the Author – Anupam Saraph

Anupam Saraph is the CIO of Pune City. What that basically means is that

In January 2008, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Software Exporter’s Association of Pune (SEAP) announced the appointment of Dr. Anupam Saraph as the “CIO of Pune”. Dr. Saraph’s appointment has been made with the objective of providing expert guidance to various e-governance initiatives that are underway in Pune, to build a vision for Pune to transform into one of the most technologically advanced cities of the future.

Dr. Saraph has a Ph.D. in Informatics from the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen University in Netherlands, and is a co-founder of a think-tank and a management consultancy. You can follow him on twitter, his blog, and soon on the under-construction site ciopune.in.

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Comments

10 responses to Tweet for Pune

  1. shirish says:

    Hi there,
    I would say why twitter and why not identi.ca . I have found identi.ca to be a much much better service as its fully open-source rather than twitter which is not. Point your browser and find out http://identi.ca/

    • navin says:

      Hi Shirish,
      While open-ness is an important criterion in choosing a service like this, I think the primary consideration should be how useful it is to the end users. In this case, using identi.ca would be fairly useless (at least for a while) since there are really not enough people on identi.ca. Initiatives like the Pune Governance Wiki live or die on the basis of ease-of-use and usefulness. They are struggling to get visibility, and mass-acceptance. In my opinion, giving up some of the ideological high ground is necessary for survival.

      That’s my personal opinion. I’m hoping others with differing opinions will respond here.

    • navin says:

      @skprasad pointed out via twitter that this not really an either-or proposition. There is nothing really preventing us from including tweets from twitter as well as identi.ca for these purposes (except for a slight increase in page loading time).

  2. Rakesh says:

    Just came across this — pretty cool. I have often felt that a mashup of:
    (a) Wikipedia like interface (for an ‘archival slowly evolving knowledge base’) edited by the community
    (b) Something automated that essentially crawls news updates as well as tweets etc.
    (c) Combined with an editorial blog for a community-nominated ‘owner’
    would be a very useful combination. Say we have one for each district of India. So for each district or some other granularity there is a Wiki page, a blog, a tweets-page, an automated news page (something that can be built using the likes of BOSS at Yahoo for free) and so on.

    There could be special subsections (just like news, tweets etc) even for updates on recent searchable district-based RTI Applications (an OCR module may be useful) and response threads as well as updates on NREGA scheme. The ease of uploading photos etc can be used further.

    Wonder what folks think about this… One issue, it seems, may be that if we want free hosting then it will have to be in one of the silos of Wikipedia or Google Apps or whatever —

    But the current Pune Governance Wikia is a promising start!

    • navin says:

      Rakesh,
      1. In general, it would be interesting to have the kind of mashup you are describing. (Or maybe joomla or drupal experts can cook up something like that using extensions.) If you, or someone else reading this, are interested in helping build something of that kind, please get in touch with me and we can start an effort.
      2. Free hosting or lack thereof should not be a factor in any decision making, because hosting is so cheap these days that getting something hosted on our own is not a problem. For example I’ve donated hosting space for ciopune.in and I’m sure I can find more willing donors for initiatives like this.

  3. Pravin says:

    Hi Shirish,

    Twitter has a huge user base. After all its not openness but the popularity matters.
    Which newspaper you will like to read? the one having more local news or one which has environment friendly paper as raw material but with very less news?
    Pune Goverance Wiki is striving to get userbase and if it can get userbase from sites like twitter its always good. See what happens when you search for “Aundh” at Twitter and at identi.ca
    http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=1096942547&page=2&q=aundh
    http://identi.ca/search/notice?q=aundh&search=Search

  4. The only reason why I believe something different than twitter could be considered is if identity management is required as well to tie the identities across multiple services. Otherwise twitter imho is the right choice. If identity management is reqd then the tool to use is not identi.ca but http://laconi.ca which is the software on which identi.ca implementation is based on.

  5. Dipali Ekbote says:

    I believe going with the market leader, Twitter makes sense. With so much talk already centered around twitter, it may be much easier to get new users to join on twitter rather than on the lesser-known alternatives.

  6. shirish says:

    Hi all,
    I have few more things which I feel need to be pointed out .

    a. In the ward office link there is no shivajinagar ward office

    b. A much better tweet and email could be in form of notices of when light or water is going to be cut in different areas.Is there such a service?

    Looking forward to know if there is such a service.

  7. Vasudev Ram says:

    This sounds like a really good idea, Navin and Anupam – having as many different organizational units as possible, whether in the public or private sector, use Twitter for broadcasting information that’s relevant and useful to the public at large. It’s of course well known that many individuals and organizations do tweet, but I think this vision of its use – by telecom companies, government departments, etc. etc., takes it to the next level.

    - Vasudev

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