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.