A story posted by the Oregonian this morning takes on a favorite topic of city hall nerds and hangers-on: Mayor Sam Adams' RAMPANT use of this one Web site that lets you send out these really short messages, only
160, 130, 70, 140 characters long. What's it called? Anyone know? Oh, yeah, right! TWITTER!
Apparently the mayor is near the top of the municipal heap. Only the boss of stinky Newark, NJ, has been more prolific. And San Francisco's soon-to-be former mayor, Gavin Newsom, is among a small group with more followers.
It's not the first time the O has pondered Sam's addiction to social media, and what it might, or might not, say about his focus. But it comes off a whole lot more lighthearted than the last time the paper weighed in. (In January, Anna Griffin advised him to keep his iPhone stowed for the duration of his mayoral flight.)
There are are a fair number of people who might agree, dubbing all that Twitterishness a bunch of self-aggrandizement and a waste of time that distracts from the bigger picture of the mayor's goals. I'm not among them. If you're reading his Tweets, you're probably sending out a few of your own, and that means he's mostly only preaching to people who already find some value in the exercise. It's also entertaining and interesting to watch a politician personally reply in real time to citizens, even if he's also shilling for himself.
In 2009, a blogger examined 11 different mayors and their Twitter habits, Adams among them. He got something wrong—and Adams noticed.
It’s clear to me that some mayors are tweeting personally, and others have staff members who ghost for them. If you look at the pronouns and the capitalization, you can guess who’s authentic and who’s merely transparent.
Mayors Phil Gordon, David Miller, and Cory Booker are clearly self-tweeting, whereas Sam Adams is not; Gavin Newsom is a mystery and I wouldn’t be surprised if the tweets are a mix of he and his staff.