This is a topic I will come back to as it is a fine example of how technology can be used innovatively at very little cost and yet make a major impact.
Jennifer Pahlka (@pahlkadot) is the founder of Code for America, which matches software geniuses with US cities to reboot local services. This is an amazing initiative that takes this talent to build apps, to communicate with the community to solve issues in their own area. What has ordinarily taken government projects many months if not years to achieve is being completed at a fraction of the cost. Social media channels are used to spread the word. Members of the community then get involved with community projects as volunteers.
For example Adopt-a-Hydrant lets citizens claim responsibility for shoveling out hydrants during snowstorms.