Social Media and The Mayor



Careful what you Twitter. Now that all of Atlanta seem to be using social media tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, you will easily get what you are after. This was the case during Mayor Shirley Franklin’s annual luncheon talk with the Atlanta Press Club on Tuesday, January 13, 2009.

Between bites of the sliced chicken salad, I sent out a Tweet via my iPhone’s Twitter application that asked, “Any questions for Mayor Franklin?” Immediately, I had droves of questions to choose from, thanks to my carefully cultivated, personal Twitter/Facebook network, plenty of them peppered with salty expressions not suitable for for re-printing on this blog. (FYI, you can sync Twitter to Facebook.)

Alas, Mayor Franklin was taking questions from those in attendance during the Q&A portion only if they were written down on a slip of paper and passed to the front, then read out loud to the Mayor by APC Board Chairman, John Boswell. So old-school!

No matter, as I would never have had a chance to eat my Commerce Club banana pudding if I’d hand-written every Twitter/Facebook response/question on a piece of paper, nor would the Mayor have had time to answer them all. And when presented with Commerce Club banana pudding priorities fall right into place.

I did manage to scratch out one question on a paper slip that was soon read to the Mayor. That question was, “Were you (Mayor Franklin) aware of the role Facebook played in organizing citizens during the recent (perceived or otherwise) intown Atlanta crime wave?”

Breezing over the crime-related portion of the question, Mayor Franklin answered that she (or her office I must assume) was not on Facebook, but that she knew Cobb County, for instance, was using social media tools to communicate with its citizenry.

Maybe Mayor Franklin should be on Facebook. And soon. Within days of its creation, the Facebook Group called Atlantans Together Against Crime and Cutbacks, had signed-up almost four-thousand members. Four thousand. In less than a week. That’s a whole lot of ATL citizenry one could immediately, and easily, start communicating with.

Come to think about it, when the traditional press bunched their hulking dino Beta cams around Mayor Franklin after the luncheon to roll on a few choice mayoral media morsels for their five-o’clocks (see photo above), had my own $120. digital camera’s battery not died  on me (the one that also shoots HD video) at that particular moment, I could have held a one-woman press conference, taking questions via Facebook and Twitter in real time and directing them to the Mayor.

But that’s this new media for you. With so many people on board social media in Atlanta now, provided your power supply holds, anyone can hold a virtual press conference – wherever, whenever.

4 responses »

  1. All one would have to do is tell Shirley that Mary Norwood is talking smack about her on her Facebook profile and she’d be signed up in seconds!

    Thanks for the plug- Facebook (and “the Internets”) has been truly powerful in our ability to rapidly organize around this issue. Tessa (, social media extraordinaire, was key in that and has some big ideas on how to increase/use our online presence to keep the community engaged.

    Fox 5 did a piece precisely about this- it can be viewed at:

    Thanks again!

    Rob Downs
    Operations Director


  2. Rob, LOL! You are so right about that. I bet could raise gobs of money by selling tickets to a Franklin/Norwood smackdown. I’ll live-stream it for you guys. Heck, I’d pay good money for that show!


  3. Love ya Grayson 😉 Thanks for blogging about this and submitting that question! I will be doing a blog post on my blog ( very soon with what ATAC has been engaging with social media wise thusfar and where we are looking to grow/expand our efforts.


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