Only days ago Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of “We are Made in NY” and reaffirmed his passion for helping the emerging tech scene in NY. The office behind these initiatives is NYC Digital and the woman behind that office is Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer
The office is currently working on projects that fall into five areas: access to internet, technology education, open government, engagement, and industry. Haot said that during her time as Chief Officer, she’s discovered that NYC represents the largest user group of any other city on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Four Square, citing that it’s because NYers like to stay connected and interact. This digital connection is what Haot hopes to build on in the NYC Digital office.
She said although it is difficult to manage all of the new initiatives that the office is working on with only five employees, the road map that the office has developed along with the support from the tech community in the city is what helps them help others. During Hurricane Sandy, the office applied what they learned during Hurricane Irene and was able to incorporate social media into their strategy for dispersing information. They now also have an emergency protocol for social media in situations like Sandy and Winter Storm Nemo to help streamline the process for sending out content from different city agencies.
Haot is also the founder of GroundReport, a professor of Social Media and Entrepreneurship at Columbia University, and was also recently deemed the city’s “head nerd” by Vogue. NYC Digital works to promote digital engagement in NYC and support all of the growing aspirations of the NYC tech community including startups. Haot said that among other initiatives, they will be focusing on Code Corps, a volunteer tech initiative to join together tech and government sectors and help them develop tech projects that can save lives during emergencies.