Sometimes in order to move forward into the future, you need to let go of things from the past.
This weekend, I’m officially decommissioning the TweetMy311 project, an Open311 project I launched over a year ago. The application is no longer active, and the TweetMy311 twitter account won’t respond to any more mentions.
The process of building and launching this application was a great learning experience for me. I got to eat my own dogfood in a sense – I had previously developed some libraries for using the Open311 API and I got a chance to use them in this project – always a satisfying thing.
The original idea behind TweetMy311 isn’t going away. In fact, it’s the impetus for several other things I’m working on, including the Mural Art Mapper project that is active currently in San Francisco and soon will be in Baltimore.
Ultimately, however, usage of the service never really took off. The goal of this project was stated plainly on the project website:
“… to learn more about building Open311 applications, and to share that information with developers that want to improve their communities by participating in the Open311 project, or to build Open311 applications.”
I’ve certainly had the chance to realize this goal.
I’ve worked with developers at Code for America this Summer (as part of the Google Summer of Code project) to develop PHP libraries for a number of civic APIs, including the newest version of the Open311 API.
I’ve developed libraries for the Open311 API in other languages (e.g., C#, Node.js) and I’m currently working on a speech-enabled address capture application that can be incorporated into 311 phone apps.
It is also deeply gratifying that TweetMy311 was able to inspire other services – like MarkASpot – to incorporate Twitter into their reporting services.
The TweetMy311 project was a great opportunity for me to be active in a civic hacking space that I care about and that I want to contribute to.
But the time to wind the project down has now arrived. Thanks to all of those that have supported the project in the past, and thanks to the good folks at OpenPlans for their leadership in moving the Open311 standard forward.