Did Your City’s Mayor Make These ‘Tweet Elite’ Rankings?


Connecting state and local government leaders

Baltimore’s mayor at No. 1 makes sense, but the top tweeters based on audience, frequency, responsiveness, engagement and influence might surprise you.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s Twitter usage tops that of all other heads of the 250 largest U.S. cities, according to a new Development Counsellors International report.

Mayors Muriel Bowser of the District of Columbia; Bill Peduto of Pittsburgh; Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte, North Carolina; and Stephen Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina round out the New York City-based place-marketing firm’s top five.

Official Twitter activity was tracked for 60 days starting Jan. 1 and the mayors ranked based on their audiences, tweet frequency, responsiveness, engagement and influence.

Rawlings-Blake, @MayorSRB, weighed in on her winning strategy:

Twitter is all about the people following you—talk to them versus at them. In a very human way, you can communicate items of import. Engage every day. Carefully read what people are writing—if you can directly help someone, do it. Don’t ignore criticism. Use it as an opportunity to set the record straight, explain your position, or even apologize if warranted. Above all, have fun and don’t stress over the typos.

The outgoing mayor has certainly endured criticism during her time in office—especially from residents upset over the Baltimore Police Department's poor relations with the community and the controversial death of Freddie Gray while in custody. She has chosen not to seek re-election.

Rawlings-Blake’s position as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors probably doesn’t hurt her Twitter following, nor does her @LiveBaltimore effort to grow the city by 10,000 families using social media to share incentive opportunities and connect with more than 250 neighborhoods.

Bowser’s, @MayorBowser, “Tweet Elite” status likely came from her Twitter promotion of Initiative 71, legalizing small amounts of marijuana in the District for recreational use.

DCI’s top 25 mayors are all mapped here:

Surprisingly, only 186 mayors of the 250 largest cities had Twitter accounts, and from that pool the study eliminated 76 who had less than 1,000 followers.

Audience, accounting for 30 percent of the scoring, divided mayors’ Twitter followings by their cities’ populations. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, led that category.

Allentown, Pennsylvania’s mayor, Ed Pawlowski, was No. 1 for frequency, the average number of daily tweets, at 11.7 tweets. Jackson, Mississippi’s mayor, Tony Yarber, was best at responsiveness, the average number of daily replies, at 6.9 replies. And Irving, Texas' mayor, Beth Van Duyne, took top honors for engagement, the average number of retweets and likes divided by following. Those categories comprised 20 percent of the scoring each.

For 10 percent of the scoring, influence, the number of the other mayors studied following an account, saw a tie between Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor, Sly James, and Sacramento, California’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, at 32.

In third place overall, Peduto, @billpeduto, offered up the funniest tweet from 2015 as his favorite:

The tweet came in response to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell’s own lamenting the return of McDonald’s McRib to Pittsburgh and not Philadelphia. While Rendell was still governor, the U.S. Airways hub moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh.

A quick-on-your-feet tweet seems in keeping with Peduto’s Twitter philosophy.

“Don’t delegate it to staff. Be multi-dimensional,” he told DCI. “Be yourself. Be bold.”

Check out the full report here.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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