Twelve Things I Learned While Reporting the Election This Summer

…in 140 characters or less.

By Johnathon Fitzpatrick July 16, 2009 Published in the August 2009 issue of Seattle Met

I’VE MADE IT my goal this election season to tweet Seattle politics in real time. I bike or bus to public forums, City Council meetings, legislative district meetings, press conferences, and campaign kickoffs, and tap out the goods on my BlackBerry for the more than 500 politicos, election-news junkies, and candidates who follow me on Twitter. Here, Twitter style, are a few things you might not know about Seattle politics.

New media is @ mercy of venues: Labor Temple’s 2-prong outlets=no laptop. Hall @ Fauntleroy=cell dead-zone, but CityHall is wireless heaven

Jan Drago swore media to secrecy, then placed Twitter & FB ads before her press conf to officially declare candidacy; Stole her own thunder

Candidates speak the same canned lines at countless forums so often that synchronized answers&rebuttals btwn candidates become ritualistic

Nickels tends to bolt from public forums as soon as his bit is done. Hutchison never even shows unless she knows Media won’t be there

Grassroots & big $ campaigns are on equal footing now due to recession, unemployment, & city-wide mail-in balloting

Most candidates can only afford to pay 1-2 staffers. Entire elections are run by temp volunteers splitting their efforts w a full-time job Licata’s Campaign Manager is 19

“In each election there’s a new shiny ball & people like to chase the shiny balls.” A consultant explaining candidates’ fascination w twitter

City council candidate Bobby Forch’s wife joked she’d divorce him if he didn’t get on twitter. Thus he was tweeting b4 handouts were printed

McGinn leaves his outreach strategy to his chief “twiteegerist” and posts himself occasionally

80% of candidates are on Twitter. Half of those are actually active. Candidates too good or too busy: Nickels, Conlin, Rosencrantz

Posted Drago pic that looked like she was glaring at me. Her tweet: “I think I’m looking up and thinking”

Follow Johnathon Fitzpatrick’s reporting during election season on Twitter: @JJtweets.

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