Yola: Messaging, Content Management, and Facilitation
"My passion for transportation stems from grassroots movement development and leadership with the Urban Development Society and Rail4Real - organizations aimed to call students to action and have an outlet for their opinions on city planning matters at the University of Texas. I agreed to work on SNAPPatx because I strongly believe that traditional community outreach has gained the potential to become more transparent and reach more people than ever with new developments in technology.
SNAPPatx has challenged me to grow through providing a public service through popular social media."
Roger: Media Integration, Data Management, and Programming
"I’ve lived in Austin since 1972. Having observed growth and transportation trends in Austin, I’ve noticed that much of our city looks and operates more like it was built for cars than for people. I’ve become interested in how residents of our city can minimize transportation hassles and enjoy their daily lives. With this interest in mind, I moved downtown, ditched my car, and created a mobile app, Dadnab, which provides bus and rail directions by text message.
When I’m not focusing on civic issues, I am a product strategist, meaning I help companies make smart decisions about how they develop and market their products. I do things like interview prospective customers and users of a product, conduct surveys, and work with product developers and marketers to meet the needs of the market.
SNAPP has enabled me to work with a great team and develop a framework for social media aggregation that other cities can use to educate and listen to the public."
Glenn: Content Development and Project Management
"I’ve lived in Austin for 20 years and most of that time I’ve been a civic advocate for mobility improvements. Professionally I’ve helped others around the state and country figure out how to win the kinds of communities and transportation they desperate need and want. Over the years I’ve watched websites and email grow into powerful tools to help people get organized and advocate their interests. With small glimmers of promise in both fun and serious democratic engagement, social media looks like the next step in the evolution of e-tools. The big question: is it like lightning (powerful, associated with storms, and randomly occurring) or is it like that tamer form of electricity that runs this computer?
Reading 11,000 comments a month is mind numbing with intervals of amusement, frustration, curiosity, and learning. Mostly, I am appreciative of your generosity, the level of genuine concern you all have for this city, and how many different ideas that can be generated in short order when we managed to ask the right questions in the right way."
David: Media Integration and Web Designer
"I moved to Austin in 2007 and instantly fell in love with the city's great people, great culture, great food, and great music. There was just one thing missing: great transportation. I am the youngest member of the SNAPPatx crew, and when I was presented with the opportunity to get involved with the project, I knew instantly it was something I wanted to get on board with.
As a college student, social media definitely plays quite a significant role in my daily routine. I use it, my peers use it -- I'd say most of Austin, with its hip and creative class population, is familiar with at least some aspect of social media. It can be a powerful tool in facilitating public discussion and advocacy. SNAPPatx combines both my academic passions: Urban Studies and Digital Media. I find the convergence of online and physical spaces quite fascinating. Virtual environment can affect and are in turn affected by the physical environment around it. Both spaces act as sculptures and sculptors. It's when we realize this metaphysical condition that we can really take advantage of the medium and hopefully do some good in our community. I've been fortunate enough to do so with such a great team on the SNAPPatx project."
Julie: Facilitation, Messaging, and Comments Coding
"Part of my job on the SNAPP communications team is to trawl the Twitterverse looking for unsuspecting folks with opinions about Austin’s transportation, and entice them to join our collective conversation about what Austin’s greatest mobility challenges are and how we might solve them. While you might think a job like that is hard, odd and maybe even a little creepy, trust me, there’s no shortage of Austinites on Twitter loudly screaming in all caps that "AUSTIN TRAFFIC SUCKS!" It’s an arena that’s simply bursting with potential!
I moved to Austin a year ago from New York City. Joining the SNAPP communications team was both a blessing and a curse. Having lived in a city with perhaps the best public transit and pedestrian infrastructure anywhere, I rapidly became frustrated and disappointed by all that Austin is lacking by comparison. I found that I quickly devolved from being a confident, independent citizen who could get myself anywhere I needed to go via transit and the power of my own two legs, to a nervous, first-time car owner utterly dependent on that thing to get me around Austin. Boy, did I have issues and opinions about Austin’s mobility! And SNAPP came along at exactly the right time and offered me the opportunity to explore that conversation in a larger arena. The curse of SNAPP, though, is that, as a facilitator, I must do my best to remain neutral on all the issues. Where I wanted to jump in and fight, my job was merely to serve up conversation topics and then hope that my fellow Austinites would do the debating and raging for me.
But that’s one more place where SNAPP has been a blessing. I feel lucky to be a part of a community with such thoughtful and impassioned citizens. It’s weird, starting to develop attachments to people you don’t know, but as a SNAPP facilitator you most certainly do. There are too many of you to list and thank individually, but if you’ve participated in the SNAPP conversation – especially the handful of our most avid and regular contributors – please know that I actively looked forward to what you’d have to say, I heard you, and I was thrilled and delighted that you expressed yourself. You have made me laugh with your biting wit, made me sad and frustrated on your behalf when transit lets you down, made me angry when you berate everything without offering any suggestions for improvement, but most of all it made me proud that you’ve taken the time to consider the issues and participate in the conversation. Change has to come from somewhere, and sometimes all it takes is a good conversation to get things started. Thanks for talking. Thanks for listening to us and to each other. And thanks for sharing your passions, frustrations and ideas. Though it’s been an anonymous interaction, I can’t help but think of all of you as my friends, and it has made me very happy to be a part of your interactive world and your Austin community."