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I love Fixmystreet - it’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a national problem reporting hub, while other council website bury their reporting facilities under pages and pages of navigation, Fixmystreet is simple, quick and direct.

What I also love is its openness, as well as being able to pull out reports for problems in your area, you can also inject problem reports directly into the system, meaning anyone can build their own front end for the system.

I’ve been thinking about Fixmystreet a lot recently, after building my own frontend for it via the Ubermap, I’ve also been thinking about repurposing our existing streetscene reporting forms, and getting them to use Fixmystreet.

It was while fiddling about under the hood, that I thought ‘wouldn’t it be cool if people could report problems via Twitter?’

Twitter is a fast way of communicating, and crucially, it’s mobile. There’s a plethora of mobile apps and frontends for Twitter, and even if you’re only on an aged Nokia 3310, you can send tweets by text message. This means that when you spot a problem, you can report it straight away. You could even add a picture.

I got cracking on it, and, within the space of 24 hours I had a prototype - users sign up with their Twitter username and email address on the Fixmytweet website, and whenever they spot a problem, they can send a tweet in this format:

@fixmytweet {postcode} {description of problem} {twitpic link (optional)}

(If you’ve got a smartphone with a Twitter app that supports the geolocation API you don’t even need the postcode!)

The system then parses the tweet and sends the necessaries to Fixmystreet. Fixmystreet then sends an email to the user, with a link for them to add more detail and approve the report. It then gets sent directly to the council! (and, if the council is smart, they can even integrate it with their CRM system)

I’m currently testing this out on a test version of Fixmystreet, and it seems to be working well so far. If you’re interested in helping test me test it, please sign up on the Fixmytweet website and send a test tweet.

I’ll keep everyone posted on developments on Twitter and this here blog!