Park District Turns to Social Media for Beach Closure Info

Chicago beach conditions to be updated via Facebook, Twitter

By Kate Allt
|  Friday, May 28, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 AM CDT
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Chicagoans may check Twitter for news on their favorite celebrities, and Facebook for the latest on their friends and family. But this summer, they can use social media for updates on their favorite beaches.

The Chicago Park District’s Office of Green Initiatives announced a program to inform beach goers via Facebook, Twitter and text of potential dangers at Chicago beaches.

"BEACHES OFFICIALLY OPEN TODAY! BEACH SWIM REPORT 5/28/10: Swim ban @ 63rd St., South Shore & Calumet. Swim Advisory..." says the inaugural tweet.

More will come when wind, rain and bacteria cause hazardous beach conditions, the new system provides immediate notification, keeping people out of the water when it is unsafe.

Eventually, scientists hope the system can be developed to inform beach goers of conditions days before they hit.

For the old-fashioned beach-goer, colored flags will still fly as a warning of poor conditions. But for the techies wanting notification in advance, they can sign up for the District’s Facebook page, Twitter or call the automated phone line (312-742-3244).

We’ll see you at the beach.  

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