iburgh_iphone_mockup_1On Monday, Councilman Bill Peduto and YinzCam Inc. launched iBurgh, an iPhone application for the City of Pittsburgh.  This iPhone application allows users to take a picture of any 311 complaint they might have, such as a pothole, and send it directly to Pittsburgh’s 311 line from their iPhone.  

The launch of this iPhone application is just one more example of Pittsburgh’s emergence as a leader in the world of e-democracy.  

  • Fall 2008 – Washington DC Launches “Apps for Democracy” Contest to Create iPhone and Facebook Apps
  • June 2009 – San Francisco Announces a 311 Twitter Account
  • June 2009 – New York City Announces a 311 Twitter Account
  • July 2009- Washington DC Announces 2nd Round of “Apps for Democracy”
  • July 2009- NYC Announces “Big Apps” Competition Modeled After DC Contest
  • July 2009 – Boston Mayor Announces Plans to Create Boston 311 iPhone App
  • August 17, 2009 – Pittsburgh Becomes First Major City in America to Launch 311 iPhone App 

The use of social media as a mode of government/constituent communication is emerging as a very valuable tool.  The number of users, and younger generations of voters in particular, and  that can be reached through these outlets continues to grow at astounding rates.  Facebook added 100,000,000 users in less than 9 months, and 96% of Generation Y are regular users of social media.  Compared to other communication outlets:

  • It took radio 38 years to get 50,000,000 listeners
  • It took television 13 years to hit 50,000,000 viewers
  • It only took 4 years for 50,000,000 people to visit the internet

Social media facts:

  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the 4th largest in the world
  • There are over 200,000,000 blogs
  • iPod applications hit he 1,000,000,000 mark in just 9 months
  • Youtube has over 100,000,000 videos and Wikipedia has over 13,000,000 articles

iBurgh is just the first initiative in establishing e-democracy programs – 3 more are scheduled to be released this year.  iBurgh will continue to expand to all platforms and all phones, following the YinzCam business model.  These e-democracy programs will become even more interactive, and updates will include ways for citizens to receive notices from government about issues or places they care about, among other things.

To learn more about YinzCam Inc. and iBurgh, check out this slide presentation by the President of YinzCam Inc., Priya Narasimhan.