Social Media's Challenge to Planning

Michael M. Grynbaum reports on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's dubious relationship with social media, and his unease with its tendency to shift the public discourse away from long-term thinking.
March 25, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Grynbaum reports on the paradox of the Mayor's embrace of social media and comments made in a recent speech in Singapore, where he expressed a concern that "'Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments' in cities."

"At City Hall, Mr. Bloomberg, who made his fortune in information technology, has avidly embraced social media. He hired the city's first full-time chief digital officer and persuaded Cornell to open an engineering campus on Roosevelt Island...His administration has not been hesitant to use Facebook and Twitter as potent political tools," writes Grynbaum.

Despite his administration's use of social media, the Mayor sees the short-term focus of the medium and its propensity to encourage "a referendum on every single thing that we do every day," as a potential obstacle to long-term urban planning.

"'The immediacy of social media, he has found, creates both opportunities - for information-sharing and for citizen empowerment - and challenges, for governments, for businesses, for media, to see beyond the next tweet, or the next blog post,'" Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor, said in an interview."

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Published on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in The New York Times
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