A councilmember takes to Twitter, other officials lag

Kriss Worthington's Twitter page: the councilmember sent out 15 tweets on his first day in the Twitterverse

Councilmember Kriss Worthington took to the Twitterverse on Thursday, and he did so with a vengeance.

Worthington signed up for Twitter in the morning, and began sending out a steady stream of tweets. “Congratulations to Berkeley High RISE students (EBAYC) on filming immigration documentary “The Next Step,” was one tweet. “Pinkberry’s grand opening on Telegraph Avenue happening soon!” was another.

By evening he had sent out 15 messages to his nine followers (Two of whom are Berkeleyside reporters).

“I just signed up today,” said Worthington. “We won’t send out quite so many every day, but in a burst of enthusiasm we sent out a bunch today. We’ll sort of find a pace how much to send and how much to be humorous and how much to be serious. We’ll be working on that.”

(The “we” must mean his staff is helping with his tweets).

Worthington’s adoption of Twitter brings to five the number of city council tweeters — although most do nothing with their accounts. The others are Mayor Tom Bates (although he has yet to send out a single tweet), Jesse Arreguin, who has sent out nine tweets since he got on Twitter in May 2009, Laurie Capitelli, who signed up for the service in July 2009 and has sent out one tweet, and Gordon Wozniak, who has also only sent out just one tweet.

Bates has 71 followers, Arreguin has 61, Wozniak has 14, and Capitelli has 13.

The city of Berkeley has been so slow to adapt to social networking technology that some private parties have decided to do it for them. There is a @CityofBerkeley tweeter who sends out updates about things in the city. The owner of that Twitter handle explains “this information is provided by a private party in support of the great City of Berkeley, but is independent of the City government”.

Worthington appears interested in having Berkeley use social media to communicate with its residents, even though City Manager Phil Kamlarz told Berkeleyside that the city does not have sufficient staff to maintain either a Facebook page or Twitter account. Worthington introduced a resolution (which, of course, he tweeted about) to have Berkeley create a Facebook 311 page where people could go to submit service requests.

Other politicians are adept at using Twitter. Governor Jerry Brown has sent out more than 1,000 tweets and has one million followers. Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, has about 56,000 followers and has tweeted 8,907 times. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan sent out so many tweets right after her election (as many as 36 a day) that people complained. (She has 1,244 followers and has tweeted 801 times). San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee does not have a Twitter account, but his mustache does.

Follow your city councilmembers:
@Kriss Worthington
@Jesse Arreguin
@Tom Bates
@Gordon Wozniak
@Laurie Capitelli
@City of Berkeley (unauthorized)

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  • Nick

    I see our councilmember, Max Anderson, isn’t on Twitter. But maybe his priority should be fixing the spelling mistakes on his city website (“pertinate”?).


  • Bill

    I’m sure we’ll get some great policy and voting explanations at 140 character – wonderful.

  • DC

    Good lord.  I don’t care if they tweet.  Better to spend time working on city issues.  Tweeting is just a trendy distraction.

  • Anonymous

    Well … tweeting and such can be a real BFWOT (big fat waste of time) 

    That said, over the past few years, I’ve found twitter to be a superb way to disseminate information very quickly – and provides a redundant means of communication in emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis or tornadoes 

    Berkeley should establish and test Twitter accounts and #HashTags … which are easy way to filter what can be a torrent of messages.  

    @BerkeleyFire, @BerkeleyPolice @BerkeleyEQ:disqus  are some which come to mind – they can be associated with the equivalent Hashtags.  The accounts are unique, the hashtags can be used by anyone.

    #Berkeley #BerkeleyFire #BerkeleyEQ #BerkeleyPolice 

    Neighborhood groups might also consider setting them up #TONA #NEBA #ThousandOaks … etc.

    And be sure to “cc”  @BerkeleySide:disqus  and use the #Berkeley tag for late breaking tweets for updates as to which Off-The-Grid truck has the best food next week.