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The Bird is the Word: Local Politicians, Twitter & You

Garcetti_GrilledCheese_Twit.jpg
Picture a BlackBerry in place of that Grilled Cheese and you've got a Twittering City Council President Garcetti (Photo by imjeffro via LAist Featured Photos)
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This morning's Daily News raises an important question in the era of social networking: "What do you do if you're a local official on a political mission to Washington, D.C., but find there's no media there to cover your activities?" The answer, of course, is to use services like Twitter and YouTube to pass along short pieces of information a la minute to your followers and constituents.LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas used Twitter last week while he was meeting with federal officials and Senators Boxer and Feinstein in DC, sending quick blurbs about what was discussed. While Ridley-Thomas and some of his fellow Supervisors are active on YouTube (Don Knabe, Zev Yaroslavsky, Mike Antonovich) for covering County issues and enhancing campaigns, city-level politicians continue to explore the use of Twitter as a rapid and efficient means of disseminating information to the public.

Probably the most prolific Twitterer on the City Council is its President, Eric Garcetti, who has been urging the other Council members to give their thoughts wings on Twitter. So far, while DTLA might be buzzing with Tweets from the unelected masses, it seems only Jose Huizar and Janice Hahn have been using the service to reach out to those they represent and those who take an interest in the machinations of city politics. For local services, like the LAFD, Twitter is a powerful tool, and hopefully those who work in City Hall can impress upon other services to adopt its use. After all, we live in a time when a city official used Twitter to announce his candidacy for Governor.