Sunday, November 8, 2009

Groundbreaking for 91 Freeway and for Social Media in Orange County

If you live in Southern California, you know about the notoriously traffic-choked Riverside Freeway (SR-91) that connects Orange County and L.A. to the Inland Empire.

Relief is on the way for the 91 freeway with shovels hitting the dirt to start construction.

The Orange County Register's Social Sundays column included the 91 freeway's social media groundbreaking today.

Just days before the groundbreaking, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) created a new Twitter account @91fwy to provide information about Orange Countys largest stimulus project. Its a construction project to widen nearly 6 miles of eastbound lanes a chronic traffic bottleneck on the Riverside Freeway from Anaheim to Corona.

Tuesdays groundbreaking event was OCTA's first to utilize social media to share instant information via Twitter and Facebook. Orange Countys savvy social media practioners joined TV, radio and print journalists in covering the start of construction for the freeway.

Orange Countys social media community provided live tweets of the groundbreaking by videotaping and conducting interviews posting content as the event was happening.

Tweets from the event reached more than 20,000 people with approximately 194,000 impressions or views. Thats a lot of eye balls online without the associated costs of traditional advertising.

In these times of greater public accountability and transparency, social media is providing impressive cost-effective results for OCTA. The new @91fwy Twitter account comes directly from Fernando Chavarria, OCTAs community relations officer, who provides the public with firsthand knowledge and up-to-the-minute construction updates. He will tweet the widening projects progress and its impact so the public can be in-the-know before they go.

Most importantly, @91fwy will help enhance OCTAs public involvement program to help us listen to the public and address questions and issues as they are posted. Social media along with traditional outreach strengthens OCTAs ability to communicate with residents, businesses, the traveling public and other stakeholders to provide the information they need.

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