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I Wanna Talk To The Mayor!!

by on July 30, 2010

Why Not Just Send Him A Tweet?!

Have you ever had to go through town hall to get a license, certificate, or to pay a parking ticket (or two)?  If so, you’ve likely suffered the agonizing, all-day ritual: navigating office after office, clerk after clerk, signature after signature.  Sometimes, as you are struggling though these laborious spouts, you see ways to do things better.  Who do you tell?

In Amman, why not the mayor?  Actually, you don’t even have to tell him, he’s already listening.

His Excellency Mayor Omar Maani is actively engaged on Twitter.  A quick look at his Twitter page and you can see immediately he is engages others and solicits citizens for their ideas.

“Send me details.”

“Looking into it.

Not only does Mayor Maani connect with constituents, he uses Twitter to stay connected with other influentials in Jordan: Queen Rania, The Prime Minister, and Ministers from Environment and Foreign Affairs.

Mayor Maani also goes beyond Jordan’s borders to see what other cities are doing: Mayor Bloomberg, Mayor Daley, and NYCFuture keep him updated with what is going on in New York and Chicago.

Although Mayor Maani does a great job on Twitter, he does not share the same commitment to the city’s website, blog or any of the other social media sites they advertise.

The Greater Amman Municipality Website provides information, but does not take the extra step to talk with the 2.5 million inhabitants of Amman (about 40% of Jordan’s population).

Greater Amman Municipality

GAM’s blog, Ammancity Blog, is sporadic.  Frequency of the posts come once a week at times, to once a month at others.  Some posts receive 50+ responses, while others sit silently with no response at all. *About 95% of the blog, both posts and responses, are in Arabic.

My recommendation: be more consistent.  Based on initial observations, one post every other week looks manageable.

Furthermore, GAM’s Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and RSS Buttons on their Website bring you back to the top of GAM’s main page, not to the advertised locations.  My recommendation:  Fix it, hyperlink those buttons.  This is a Quick Fix that can be done right NOW.

Lastly, there are sections on the website dedicated to City Projects, City Initiatives, and Announcements.  I like the idea of having this information readily available to the general public, but right now they are only place holders with no real content.  When relevant information makes it to these pages, I recommend GAM add comment sections for citizens to respond to the particular topic.  I would also add share buttons to frequented social networking sites used by most Jordanians.

The City of Amman has taken steps in the right direction towards using social media to talk to, and more importantly, with their citizens.  I feel they can get even closer to those citizens by incorporating some of the recommendations above.

I never realized until writing this post that I was only about an hour away from Amman in 1991, when I was floating effortlessly in the Dead Sea, 50 miles southwest from the Jordanian capital.  I look forward to my future visit.  Maybe I’ll tweet the Mayor for restaurant selections.

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From → Jordan

3 Comments
  1. Cool post…good insights and I like that you found that he is following US feeds…

  2. Carolina B permalink

    Loved your post Ryan!!! I would be interesting to see how much influence the queen has had in all of these efforts!

  3. Really interesting post that the Mayor is actively using Twitter to talk to citizens (though he only has 1000 or so followers). He is clearly using the tool as a way to solicit feedback that he can then funnel through to the right channels, but that seems like a completely appropriate use of Twitter. Your point that you researched about how this social media usage has not extended to other city government sites was a great point. Your suggestions for what they could do made sense and your point of view came through clearly. The one thing that felt out of place was your point at the end about having been in the region and so close to Amman without realizing it. Is there a way you could have started your post with that point or somehow integrated it to make it feel more a part of the post instead of a quick add-on at the end? That was the only small point I might have changed, but otherwise another great post this week. (5)

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