If we were to make a list of things we’d like to change about the Philadelphia city government, its social media strategy would likely be far down the list after taxes, a new logo and crushing bureaucracy.
However, the city’s terrible use of Twitter has been an embarrassment to Philadelphia for too long. Created in January of 2009, the city’s @PhiladelphiaGov account has left us all puzzled as it constantly tweets in all caps, posts links to Facebook (which then link to a press release) and sometimes it just spits out a link with no explanation or surrounding text.
When we spoke with Mayor Nutter last month, he didn’t seem concerned with social media and with good reason: the man has a budget to balance. But after the city went through the trouble of plastering its Twitter username all over its new website (including the front page) it’s puzzling why the city can’t get one staffer to take a closer look at @PhiladelphiaGov. Heck, we’d even be satisfied with someone turning off the caps lock.
Not only is @PhiladelphiaGov a wasted opportunity for the city to connect with its citizens, it makes us all look bad. To be clear, the city’s Twitter account should be a low priority after taxes and other long-held complaints about the city’s interaction with the technology community. However, fixing this problem won’t take City Council and years of debate â€“ just an intern who knows how to use a computer.
As a result of the city’s misuse of Twitter, a parody account, @DrunkPhillyGov has emerged. The account is an homage to the popular @drunkhulk account which posts simplistic rants in all caps. Technically Philly reached out to @DrunkPhilyGov, and the account responded, remaining anonymous:
“The interview request will be responded to by a representative of @DrunkPhillyGov within the same span of time it takes the Streets department to respond to a pothole request,” read the email. “TechinicallyPhilly.com must complete a 40 page essay about the great moments in Philadelphia City Government history and print it off on a dot matrix printer in 1.5-spaced 14pt Courier New font.”
Judging by this week’s blogger meetup to help ease fears over the so-called “blog tax,” the city cares what techies think. Technically Philly can only hope that someone from the city takes the time to disconnect the automated Twitter feed and all caps tweets to actually put a real person behind the account.
Or, at the very least, put a drunk guy in charge of it.
And just for kicks, read the full @DrunkPhillyGov response to our interview request below:
Philadelphia, September 9, 2010- Today @DrunkPhillyGov responded to a request from @TechnicallyPHL regarding an interview to be posted at TechinicallyPhilly.com at a date to be determined. @TechnicallyPHL, which was established on February 9, 2009, is a blog covering the Philadelphia region’s maturing Web-based economies. As a Twitter account making immature jokes at the expense of another Twitter account for a struggling Real-Life-based economy, @DrunkPhillyGov seems a perfect representative to be interviewed by a website that might have serious journalistic aspirations. “I am pleased to announce,” a representative for @DrunkPhillyGov said on Thursday, September 9, “that an interview with @DrunkPhillyGov has been requested by TechnicallyPhilly.com.”
The representative of @DrunkPhillyGov then checked to ensure that TechinicallyPhilly.com was indeed a legitimate journalistic enterprise and not another “web-based entrepreneur” requesting a deposit of several million dollar with a high return, like that Nigerian fellow who contacted the Mayor’s office a few years ago representing a solar-powered trash can company.
“Today, if you are interested in interviewing a parody Twitter account for your maturing Web-based economy blog,” the @DrunkPhillyGov representative stated, “it is possible to express that interest on Twitter in a message posted to your readers containing your personal e-mail address.”
In keeping with the official City of Philadelphia policy regarding interviews with the Press, TechinicallyPhilly.com must complete a 40 page essay about the great moments in Philadelphia City Government history and print it off on a dot matrix printer in 1.5-spaced 14pt Courier New font, which should then be deposited in an official City of Philadelphia Blue Recycling Bin along with any No. 2 plastic containers as part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s ALL TOGETHER NOW recycling initiative. The interview request will be responded to by a representative of @DrunkPhillyGov within the same span of time it takes the Streets department to respond to a pothole request.
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