2,200 years ago, Romans founded the small Andalusian town of Jun, near the city of Granada. While still being a quaint little town known for its pottery, Jun is making a name for itself as being avant-gardes in the realm of using social media to run a town. Complete with an obelisk in the center of the town’s roundabout, Jun has leapt ahead into the 21nd century by using Twitter to help decrease bureaucracy, run a more successful administration and to serve its people.
The Mayor of Jun, José Antonio Rodríguez Salas, has promoted the use of Twitter in his town by encouraging everyone to make an account. This is a project that Salas has pursued for many years, and the hard work is starting to pay off. This is not the first time Jun has used the Internet to their advantage as previous election campaigns have all been conducted online, saving the town a lot of money. Not surprisingly, this comes from a town that made Internet a basic public service and a right of its citizens in December of 1999.
All residents of Jun who wish to use the services provided need to register their account with at the local town hall. Some of the services provided include communication between the residents with the local police officer as well as the local street sweeper. Via Twitter, residents can contact these people directly about concerns they have.
These services have increased productivity within Jun and have allowed Mayor Salas to reduce the police force from four down to one. All of this has been accomplished through the ease of communication that Twitter allows its users. While the communication is done online, it still hasn’t killed the bustling social scene in Jun. According to Twitter’s chief data scientist, Deb Roy, who visited Jun earlier this year, “[T]he town hall still buzzes with people and [Mayor Salas] is very visible in the town.”
Deb Roy as well as Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter, paid a visit to the small town of Jun to see how their social media platform was helping a whole town to run more effectively and efficiently. It is no doubt that Twitter isn’t effective enough to help a larger city to run smoothly, but the experiment in Jun is certainly a testimony to the importance of communication between a small group of individuals.