Mayor Emanuel likes to boast that he’s tech-savvy, particularly when it comes to social media. In the last year, he’s hired a chief technology officer, a chief data officer, and a director of social media; hosted the first town hall meeting via Facebook in a major city; helped make Chicago the first U.S. city to have a Foursquare badge; launched a Google Plus page (also the first U.S. mayor to do so); and generally tweeted and updated all about town.
It’s all part of what Kevin Hauswirth, the mayor’s director of social media, calls Emanuel’s “360 degrees of engagement” with city residents. The mayor, says Hauswirth, is not obsessed with his friends or follower statistics or click-throughs or retweets. “He wants to make sure that what we’re putting out there is relevant to what folks really want to hear.”
Given Emanuel’s fondness for f-bombs, it is probably a good thing that he mostly leaves his Facebook messaging and tweets to his aides. Which probably explains why they are usually dry policy statements that seem right out of the mayor’s press office. Stuff like this, from Twitter:
RT @ChicagosMayor [PIC] Commish Byrne monitors bridge conditions, Mayor checks live feeds of street traffic http://on.fb.me/ABp7lI
Or this, from Facebook:
Mayor Emanuel is extremely proud to join 70 other mayors in support of marriage equality.
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Despite a career mostly spent in Washington, Rahm is way more popular here than in D.C. . . .
Only about 2 percent of his friends and followers live in (or around) D.C.
. . . and he’s got more fans in Illinois than any other politician in the state (not counting Barack Obama) . . .
. . . but among mayors of U.S. cities with populations of at least 250,000 he’s still a distant third.
U.S. mayors with the most Facebook fans and Twitter followers:
NOTES: Data as of March 19. SOURCE: Colligent
Illustration: Nana Rausch