US mayors have become incessanbt users of social media site such as Twitter



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America’s most popular
city mayors on Twitter

Research by City Mayors*

18 November 2012: With a few exceptions, all mayors of America’s largest cities use social media to communicate with residents but, with more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter, the Mayor of Newark, NJ, is in a league of his own. Cory Booker’s personal Twitter page records almost five times as many followers than his city has residents. New York’s Michael Bloomberg has the second highest number of Twitter followers of any US mayor. The mayors of Portland, Illinois and San Antonio complete the top five of most popular Twitter mayors.

All big-city mayors follow considerably fewer Twitter accounts than they have followers, except that is for the Mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, who records 56,100 followers on Twitter and claims to follow 56,600 other users. Newark’s Cory Booker says he follows more than 62,000 other Twitter users, but the mayors of Tulsa and Chicago follow only one or two people. Dewey Bartlett, Tulsa, follows his city’s official Twitter page, while Rahm Emanuel, Chicago, follows the City of Chicago page and the Twitter account of a Cory Chism.

Some mayors prefer to use Twitter messages simply to inform, while others are also happy to chat. Cory Booker will tweet about everything and anything, from sport, movies to politics, although with virtually three tweets every hour, one wonders whether he has time for anything else. Michael Bloomberg’s tweets address more pertinent matters. His most recent 140-character messages deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Twitter page of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who lists less than 1,000 tweets - Cory Booker has more than 22,000 recorded on his Twitter page – contains a mix of political, personal and informative messages.

Some mayors are honest enough to state that their personal Twitter pages are maintained by members of staff, while other like to keep up the illusion that the thousand of tweets are all their own handiwork.


US mayors on Twitter*
Rank
City
Mayor
Followers**
Following**
1
Newark
New Jersey
Cory Booker
1,280,800
62,400
2
New York City
New York State
Michael Bloomberg
389,900
200
3
Portland
Oregon
Sam Adams
56,100
56,600
4
Chicago
Illinois
Rahm Emanuel
52,400
2
5
San Antonio
Texas
Julian Castro
40,700
1,600
6
Sacramento
California
Kevin Johnson
33,100
13,500
7
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
Michael Nutter
32,400
400
8
Atlanta
Georgia
Kasim Reed
31,100
5,500
9
Minneapolis
Minnesota
R T Ryback
23,500
3,900
10
San Francisco
California
Edwin Lee
20,100
200
11
Boston
Massachusetts
Thomas Menino
19,100
3,000
12
St Louis
Missouri
Francis Slay
16,800
2,400
13
Houston
Texas
Annise Parker
13,200
2,300
14
Detroit
Michigan
Dave Bing
13,000
1,300
15
Baltimore
Maryland
Stephanie Rawlings-Blake
12,300
700
16
New Orleans
Louisiana
Mitch Landriey
10,800
1,000
17
Washington DC
District of Columbia
Vincent Gray
10,400
300
18
Memphis
Tennessee
A C Wharton
10,300
4,900
19
Indianapolis
Indiana
Greg Ballard
9,800
1,000
20
Seattle
Washington
Mike McGinn
9,700
1,800
21
Charlotte
North Carolina
Anthony Foxx
8,100
3,900
22
San Diego
California
Jerry Sanders
7,900
1,600
23
Kansas City
Missouri
Sly James
5,800
5,700
24
Columbus
Ohio
Mike Coleman
5,500
900
25
Louisville
Kentucky
Greg Fischer
5,300
200
26
Oakland
California
Jean Quan
4,700
1,200
27
Denver
Colorado
Michael Hancock
4,600
2,000
28
Los Angeles
California
Antonio Villaraigosa
3,900
37
29
Jacksonville
Florida
Alvin Brown
3,800
1,800
30
Omaha
Nebraska
Jim Suttle
3,300
1,500
31
Las Vegas
Nevada
Carolyn Goodman
3,200
2,400
32
Mesa
Arizona
Scott Smith
3,100
700
33
Phoenix
Arizona
Greg Stanton
3,100
700
34
Austin
Texas
Lee Leffingwell
3,000
900
35
Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania
Luke Ravenstahl
2,900
200
36
Fresno
California
Ashley Swearengin
2,500
21
37
Forth Worth
Texas
Betsy Price
2,300
1,000
38
Wichita
Kansas
Carl Brewer
2,200
31
39
Dallas
Texas
Mike Rawlings
1,900
600
40
Colorado Springs
Colorado
Steve Bach
1,700
900
41
Long Beach
California
Bob Foster
800
300
42
Miami
Florida
Tomas Regalado
800
100
43
Tulsa
Oklahoma
Dewey Bartlett
300
1
44
Albuquerque
New Mexico
Richard Berry
200
30

*The research for this article was carried out on 17 and 18 November 2012.
* Figures were rounded up to the nearest hundred






With more than 1.2 million followers, Newark Mayor Cory Booker is America's City Hall Twitter champion


On other pages
Local democracy strengthened by new social media platforms
Around the world, governments at all levels are facing new demands, new expectations and a fast-growing array of new technologies and tools by which such demands and expectations can be met. At the heart of those new technologies lies social media and it promises development towards increased and enhanced citizen participation in politics.

A World Economic Forum (WEF) discussion paper on the future of e-governance highlights the key role social media plays for helping governments from the local to the supranational become FAST (Flatter, Agile, Streamlined, Tech-enabled). But FAST does not only mean speedy, although digital platforms inherently speed-up processes and decision-making, it also means governments are more efficient and closer to citizens and their real needs.

Social media is seen by some as the ‘holy grail’ of 21st century democracies that can help re-establish citizen engagement and public trust. However, as personal social media (Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and the like) expands globally, public administrations still often lack the imagination, know-how or organisational flexibility and entrepreneurial mindset to make proper use of it. Social media tools are easy to use, but civil servants need support and training to develop dialogue and interaction skills and governments must help them with it.

The opportunities that social media can potentially generate through its inexpensive and omnipresent nature are great. By helping gather public feedback, ideas, creativity, etc. and feeding these back into the policy-making process, it can rejuvenate direct democracy. The WEF paper concludes: “At its best the interactive dialogue can increase efficiency, innovation and genuine accountability, when the work of administrations becomes more transparent.” Accordingly, the true value and benefit of social media technology lies in its potential to make citizens participate more directly in governance (such as the participatory budgeting movement championed by Latin American cities demonstrates). More