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Who Runs Jun? Twitter, That’s Who.

There’s a little town in Spain called Jun. It can be found in the province of Granada and has just over 3500 citizens.

But there is more than what meets the eye to this small town. Something absolutely ground breaking is happening there. 

After 16 years of working on this project, Mayor José Antonio Rodríguez Salas is starting to get his entire town on Twitter.

By registering their Twitter accounts with the town hall, citizens are able to satisfy any local council/government requirements via the social network. This has left Mayor Salas with little paperwork to do and a more than efficient process.  

In 1999, Salas began work to improve civic services in the town through the use of technology and the idea of Twitter seems to be working surprisingly well.

So well in fact, that the town seems to be completely Twitterpated. They host a yearly conference in honour of the site and even have a roundabout dedicated to the social media giant. 

http://www.theguardian.com/
This roundabout is decorated with a monument in the centre (featuring the Twitter bird) which is surrounded by a stone mosaic (of Twitter). Then around the edge of that, are a selection of Hollywood style cement hand prints (featuring Twitter handles). 

One of the sets of hand prints belongs to Dick Costolo, who just ended his reign as Twitter's CEO.

So far, Twitter doesn't quite run the town, because only 600 residents have registered for Twitter in this way. The remaining 3000 are missing out on some awesome features, including reporting crime, pot holes and broken street lamps. Twitter also enables the locals to book their doctor's appointments and hire out rooms in the town hall all within that 140 character limit. 

The mayor hasn't given up on the majority of people who are yet to join Twitter. He is convinced they just need a push in the right direction. He has set up courses for complete beginners which have had people as old as 90 in attendance. 

Hilariously, the town's street sweeper is even on Twitter and is becoming a bit of a BNOC (big name on campus). He says he gets congratulated on his work via his Twitter account and it seems like it's given the poor champ that fighting spirit to stick at his job a few more years. Check him out @barredorajun.

The other positives to come with Twitter (other than dobbing in criminals and giving your street sweeper a pat on the back, of course) can be seen just by stepping into the town hall. 

Where there used to be queues and queues, there is a serene space with nobody in. Instead of stacks of paperwork, everything is backdated on a handy database called Twitter. Struggling to find 3G? Not anymore, free WiFi now runs throughout the entire town of Jun.

On top of this, the citizens really feel like their voice is being heard. Salas has even been known to speedily respond to his people on Twitter!

But what about those who refuse to get in on the action? I'm not sure. 

Salas is doing all he can to encourage it, but with a mixture of illiteracy, stubbornness, age and lack of funding for a mobile/computer device, there must be a percentage of people who are destined to be left out the loop.

More worryingly, I wonder if Salas has prepared for times when Twitter goes down?

For menial information, like what restaurants are serving food and what the children are up to in the local school, this isn't a big deal. But with no paperwork whatsoever, is Twitter really a reliable enough resource for a project of this scale?

Who knows. Only time will tell whether Salas and his Twitter-Town will work well enough to really rule out bureaucracy. 


Megan Herdson
Megan is a country girl who moved to the city with some big dreams. She is studying her MA in Creative Writing whilst also managing an American Football Team.  She loves her blog and wants nothing more than to have her words read. That and to win the Championship, obviously. Follow her @MeganAtSMF

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Who Runs Jun? Twitter, That’s Who. Reviewed by Megan Herdson on Saturday, July 04, 2015 Rating: 5

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