02/28/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that San Francisco is adding an innovative first-in-the-nation application to the City’s Facebook page, which would allow the public to report basic service issues such as graffiti removal or pothole repairs to the 311 Customer Service Center. Developed through a joint project between the Department of Technology and the 311 Customer Service Center, this Facebook application brings basic City services to the public in an easy and innovative way.
“With nearly 260,000 fans of the City and County of San Francisco, it was necessary to create a better tool to enhance the public experience to connect with our City and report issues through our 311 system so we can take action,” said Mayor Lee. “Social media like Facebook and Twitter have enhanced the public experience for our residents, connected communities, and transformed neighborhoods and businesses.”
The new Facebook application “311 Service Request” allows the user to select the service they are requesting, provide brief details, attach photos and submit the request, all from a single page. The application takes advantage of the Open311 platform launched last year, which allows software developers to write web applications for submitting service requests to City departments. This Facebook application can automatically pass contact details from your Facebook profile into the 311 system or can be anonymous. You can still use the application without a Facebook account.
The 311 Customer Service Center, which launched in March 2007, has answered over 10 million calls and serves callers in more than 176 languages. Using state-of-the-art customer relationship management technology, a customer service representative assists callers with information and service requests for any variety of city services, including MUNI schedules, pothole reports, or property tax information. The Facebook application follows the goal of making services as available as possible. 311 can be reached using telephone, Twitter, through the website (www.sf311.org), and applications from many private developers using the Open311 platform.
“We are excited about this new platform for providing services to the public,” said Nancy Alfaro, Director of 311. “The popularity of Facebook makes this an important tool. Many applications launch from Facebook into their own site, but the way our Department of Technology leveraged the Open311 platform, Google Maps, and the Facebook API is innovative and unique.”
In early 2009, San Francisco was one of the first major cities to launch an official Facebook page for residents to access city services and become more community engaged. Today with over 250,000 fans, the Department of Technology continues to find innovative ways to bring services to the constituents. “With very limited resources at our disposal, we were able to provide an invaluable service to thousands of citizens outside of the more traditional and costly website based approach,” said Jon Walton, Acting Chief Information Officer in the Department of Technology. “This is only the beginning.”
To use the new Facebook application, go to http://www.facebook.com/sf