Looks Like The Mayoral Candidates Are Tweeting Better
Ask and you shall receive, right? I did a little kvetching in our August issue about the boooorrrrrriiiinnnnnggggg state of our 12 mayoral candidates’ Twitter feeds. Nearly all of the candidates, it seemed, just used their tweets to brag about all the different events they were going to and what a great time they were having at them. It was “great time this,” “great time that,” “great time here,” “great time there.” Really it was boring, boring, boring. There was no effort to engage voters or even show a little personality.
Believe it or not, this isn’t just petty complaining. As I also wrote about in our August issue, the demographics of Boston are changing. There are more young voters in the city than ever, mostly packed into downtown. They vote regularly in national elections, but not local ones, and in such a big, fractured race, the key to victory for a candidate in the September 24 preliminary election could be figuring out a way to get these young progressive types out to the polls. Larry DiCara, the former city councilor and Boston political punit-in-chief, has written about this as well, and a few weeks ago, I called him up to talk about the phenomenon. He pointed out that many of these young voters live in dense, high-rise buildings. The problem with dense, high-rise buildings is that they’re very difficult to canvass. You can’t go knocking door to door the same you can out in the neighborhoods.
So how do you reach these folks? DiCara said that social media is a very good way to start. If you can’t knock their door, at least tweet at ’em. Which brings me back the candidates’ boring Twitter feeds. It seems like these last few weeks, they’ve gotten better. At least a few of them.
To start, I’ve got to give credit to Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley for clowning on my original complaint:
— Daniel F. Conley (@DanFConley) August 7, 2013
The liveliest feeds, though, have come from city councilors John Connolly and Mike Ross, and it’s probably no coincidence that those two seem to be the candidates most determined to reach the city’s younger voters. A few days ago, for instance, Connolly goofed with our David S. Bernstein about would-be nicknames. And Ross has been having fun lately clowning on other candidates:
I just got canvased by a Marty Walsh’s independent expenditure worker. I think he left a Mike Ross supporter! — Mike Ross (@MikeforBoston) August 24, 2013
Is this the biggest deal in the world? Probably not. But it’s nice to see not only that some candidates have a sense of humor, but that they understand how to interact with the city’s younger citizens. Can they go further? Perhaps. This may be getting greedy, but how about some viral video attempts? As a journalist, I can’t help but love the high-potential for train-wreck embarrassment. Connolly gave it a good shot, but I think the opportunity here really could be Ross’s. Yesterday, he and spokesman Josh Gee allegedly attempted to rickroll each other.
Now, we’ve seen political rickrolling before (Note: we eagerly anticipate a Globe trend story in 2023), so, to the Ross campaign, it’s nice you’re having some fun with your Twitter feed, but, ya know, video or it didn’t happen.
Update: Ross has in fact endeavored to make a video. It’s no rickroll, but we appreciate the effort! Not bad!
— Mike Ross (@MikeforBoston) August 26, 2013