Councils turn to tech to keep in touch
Your local council isn't as backwards as you might think it is. Well, some of them aren't. There are probably a few still trying to fix diabolical transport infrastructure and inner-city deprivation by spending thousands on pieces of modern art that look like they've spent too long on the radiator. Because there's nothing like a giant marble terrapin or some such shit in the middle of the local interchange to take your mind off the fact that you've waited 45 minutes for a bus home.
Some local councils are thinking a little smarter though, and using technology to help us out with our everyday whinges. One nifty example is PlanningAlerts.com which searches dozens of local authority planning websites, and emails you details of planning applications near you. You can choose whether you want to be alerted to new building work (or demolition) down your street, in the neighbourhood or within walking distance.
Lichfield Council have taken the idea one step further and built an interface for Twitter, in the form of TwitterPlan. Just subscribe to the service and follow the instructions, and TwitterPlan will squirt details of any nearby planning application straight to your Twitter account as a Direct Message (so they can't be seen publically).
Some councils are have set up what amounts to a broadcast channel, sending relevant news and information through Twitter; during the Winter storms, Newcastle City Council sent real-time info on school closures from its Twitter account to parents. You can also find your local councillor on Twitter with CllrTweeps and demand to know why they only bother to knock on your door and agree with you about the lack of local amenities when it's election time, the transparent shysters.