All Atwitter About the Mayor

Twitter Screenshot

The now-shuttered, fake Twitter account for Mayor Gray.

This morning, in my link roundup, I included a story about the Mayor and Twitter, the microblogging service DCentric loves so much, we comb through it every night for a “Tweet of the Day“. Apparently, someone created a fake Twitter account with the very useful handle, “@MayorGray“. While veteran social media cynics expressed skepticism about the new account, Council Members who have known the Mayor for years initially believed it was him sending out the 140-character messages known as “tweets”.

All of this was on my mind this when I stumbled upon Aaron Morrissey’s post on DCist, “The Twitter Gap“, an hour ago. Morrissey is the editor-in-chief of the site; in his piece, he cautions people to remember that there are definitely people who aren’t as Twitter-savvy as the typical DCist lurker or commenter, which is a great thing to keep in mind. Morrissey concludes his post by saying:

The confusion, of course, is no one’s fault but Gray’s. The new Mayor, who utilized Twitter somewhat capably during his campaign for office last year, has so far been silent, despite repeated promises that his administration would offer enhanced transparency. There’s but one way that Gray could battle this kind of public confusion — that’s to start up a Twitter account of his own and get tweeting.

I can understand the disappointment behind this suggestion; the Mayor proved that he’s aware of Twitter during his campaign, so he can’t plead ignorance or say he’s unsure of how to use it. Social media IS an effective way to facilitate transparency. And in a city which is still majority “chocolate”, it would be wonderfully savvy to utilize a service like Twitter, which is extra popular with African-Americans (especially young ones).

Having said all that, I tend to fall in the camp of “Bad social media is worse than no social media”. Maybe the person who handled Twitter for the Mayor is no longer with his staff. Maybe the Mayor fully intended to use it, but is consumed with other obligations. I’m going to call the Mayor’s office and ask and if I hear something back on a snowy Friday, I’ll let you know.

But I can’t help but think that on my wish list of stuff that this Mayor could do, “tweeting” as well as Superhero-Mayor Corey Booker doesn’t rank very high– and in a way, it’s a bit of a no-win situation if he tries. People will accuse him of copying someone else, and probably declare that he’s a really poor imitation, at that. Now if our Mayor showed the same devotion to his constituents that his counterpart in Newark does, THAT would mean more to me than interacting with them online, 140 characters at a time.