I realized something this week.

A lot of politicians, including our own Mayor Jerry Sanders, are using Twitter to communicate with us all in a new way.

But the dynamics of Twitter make it so that the social media application could very easily become a constant, open-to-everyone press conference. In the past, news consumers couldn’t really go to press conferences, and they relied on reporters to ask the right questions, challenge the politicians and report the story appropriately. Now things have changed.

You can all get on Twitter, and by putting @MayorSanders in your post or “tweet” you will get his attention. At least, you will get the attention of whoever mans his Twitter feed.

Sure, he can ignore you. But if you have a few hundred followers (people who have signed up to see what you write) he’s essentially ignoring them too. If he doesn’t want to do this, he can simply announce that he’s not going to do Twitter anymore. Shut down the account, donesky.

But if you’re going to Twitter, you can’t just treat it like another way to post your good-news press releases. Yet this is how most local politicians have treated it so far. Councilmen Todd Gloria (@ToddGloria), Carl DeMaio (@CarldeMaio) and Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) all just use it as another way to get their canned statements out. Though occasionally they have something out of the ordinary to say or they respond to a casual mention from one of their followers or a local reporter.

This isn’t going to last and they should get used to it. They’ve now basically invited their hundreds if not thousands of followers to ask them questions or challenge them in this new forum. Now, again, they can ignore these challenges but they do so at the risk of looking bad to the hundreds or thousands of people who might see it all unfold.

Again, it’s a new, virtual, totally public press conference.

I think it’s great. Sign up and follow me and everyone http://bit.ly/xjZDZ) I will only ask sincere q’s. No. 1: Why would you consider underfunding the pension?

2:32 PM Jul 30th from TweetDeck

@scottlewisVOSD: @MayorSanders is on record saying “We’ll pay our full ARC. SDCERS determines the ARC; all SD does is pay it.” Period.

2:44 PM Jul 30th from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

The ARC, by the way, is the Annual Required Contribution to the city’s pension fund. In other words, it’s the bill the pension system gives the city each year to make sure there is enough money in the portfolio to pay the pensions of all the city’s past and current workers.

I then responded to Laing’s point about the ARC. She’s basically saying the mayor has no control over what the bill is and he has to pay it. But this is disingenuous. The mayor and his staff are actively working to lower the ARC. Some are worried that if they don’t, the http://bit.ly/w8Sp3

3:09 PM Jul 30th from TweetDeck

Note that I linked to this story.

@scottlewisVOSD: You are making a huge leap in determining motives and intentions.

3:54 PM Jul 30th from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

@RachelLaing What’s the intention? Goldstone said pension bd has to consider city’s finances & he put together panel to get rid of corridor.

4:02 PM Jul 30th from TweetDeck in reply to RachelLaing

@scottlewisVOSD: You could compile all statements by Jay in Rani’s story and reach a completely different conclusion than the one you have.

4:35 PM Jul 30th from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

@RachelLaing OK, good. So the city is not trying to lower the ARC or get rid of the corridor? The mayor will say he has no interest in this?

4:37 PM Jul 30th from TweetDeck in reply to RachelLaing

@scottlewisVOSD – SDCERS unilaterally determines the ARC payment. City pays.

about 21 hours ago from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

@scottlewisVOSD – If you want to dig deeper and learn something, let’s set up a real interview. This is too complex for 140-character quips.

about 21 hours ago from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

OK, @RachelLaing but it’s easy: If @MayorSanders isn’t trying to lower the pension bill. What’s he doing? I’ll publish as much as you want.

about 21 hours ago from TweetDeck

@scottlewisVOSD: Just went and re-read Rani’s story. There’s really nothing to add to what Jay said then.

about 1 hour ago from web in reply to scottlewisVOSD

So @RachelLaing 140 characters was actually too many?

about 2 hours ago from TweetDeck

She says the mayor is not doing anything to lower the pension bill the city faces. But she won’t clarify what it is, then, that he is doing.

Anyway, I found that interesting — thought you would too.


    This article relates to: Opinion, Scott Lewis on Politics

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    Written by K Hernandez



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