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Monday, November 18, 2013

A Study in Mayoral Twitter Stylings

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Mayor Charlie Hales' Twitter feed has always been a relatively dull, trickling contrast to that of his predecessor. Sam Adams made Twitter a part of his daily duties, posting reflections, chatting with citizens, and, occasionally, nearly breaking national news. Hales mostly posts short headlines with attached links—often to stories or press releases that have been circulating for hours.

It's been a matter of some discussion, here, actually, so it was interesting when The Atlantic Cities sent along this video this morning. Staffers for the site interviewed mayors from around the world at a conference in New York about a bevy of topics— including Twitter—offering a handy opportunity to see how a city leader's attitude toward the site translates in the Twittersphere (I hate myself for writing it, too). First, here's that video:

So how do these outlooks play out the web? You be the judge. We took two tweets, all from the last week relatively recent, posted to the featured mayors' Twitter accounts:

Gregor Roberston, Vancouver, BC: "I write my Twitter feed. I have my own account @mayorgregor."



Karl Dean, Nashville. "My staff does any Twittering, I don't Twitter myself. I know pretty much what they're saying, but I have never Twittered and I think that's probably the right thing for me."

Dean doesn't appear even to have an account. Which seems genuine, at least.

Kasim Reed, Atlanta: "I write 97.5 percent on everything on Twitter. You do it in the car, you do it in the morning, you do it late at night. The key to Twitter is really authenticity. Nobody wants to really see things that are written by somebody else. When there's a tweet that's not from me, it's primarily general information about the city."



Lisa Scaffidi, Perth: "You know, I laugh when I hear people have services for Twitter. I'm like, 'Why do you bother?' If it's not you that's making the commentary, I just don't see why you would bother with social media."




Charlie Hales: "My wonderful communications director writes my Twitter feed. His name is Dana Haynes, and he not only writes my Twitter feed and all my press releases but he's also a fiction writer. So we try to make sure he sticks with nonfiction when he's writing for me, and writes fiction when he's home at night."



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