When we think of public officials and Twitter, the rants and controversies of a former president are probably the first thing that comes to mind. For four years, the country was whiplashed by Donald Trump’s manic Twitter feed. But local electeds across the US are using the platform for good — engaging the public, answering questions one-on-one, and keeping constituents informed.
Slate’s Henry Grabar recently published a piece on “the mayors who spend all day on Twitter.” That’s an exaggeration, of course. But the crew does spend plenty of time on the platform, reading and replying to tweets, and they’ve amassed a following as a result. The group includes Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, Compton’s Aja Brown, Culver City’s Alex Fisch, and West Hollywood’s Lindsey Horvath.
Fisch “lays out the agenda for City Council meetings in plain English,” Grabar writes. “He’s quick with a quip or a dunk when the mayoring business is in the news, as it was last week when a Texas mayor told freezing constituents they were owed nothing. He’ll laugh with the rest of us about a large boulder the size of a small boulder. But he also wiles away the hours in long, branching conversations about transportation and housing, and entertains a long-running Twitter feud with John Mirisch, the former mayor and current City Council member in nearby Beverly Hills.”
Twitter can get you into trouble too. The platform rewards wit, speed, and brevity. That can be a recipe for saying the wrong thing. Some officials have had old tweets dug up and used against them years later.
The Twitter curse hasn’t come for any of the mayors gaining big traction on Twitter right now. But they’re aware their luck could change.
“I have yet to pay the price,” Mayor Fisch told Grabar. “But it is only a matter of time.”