online-social-networking-2A recent Next American City article highlights the trend of cities around the country that have begun to utilize free online web applications in order to more easily connect with their residents.

Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular methods of communication between local government and the community.  In addition to an official website, many cities are creating blogs through free websites such as WordPress and Blogger, and City Council and committee meetings are increasingly appearing online through websites like YouTube.  The increase in access to the activities of city government creates a positive trend towards more accountability and transparency in local government.

Last year, the City of Pittsburgh and Yinzcam released the innovative iPhone application iBurgh for City of Pittsburgh residents, allowing them to quickly photograph and report problems to the City’s 311 service.  Pittsburgh also has begun to broadcast City Council meetings online through the City of Pittsburgh website.

Read more about free web applications for cities in the New American City article.