$29,000 for Tweets

An article appearing at Philly.com today drew attention to councilman Jim Kenney’s relationship with ChatterBlast, a social media marketing company. Mr. Kennedy pays ChatterBlast $28,800 to maintain his Twitter account, controversially with public funds. While Twitter users prefer to interact with public servants directly, and not their consultants, the practice isn’t uncommon. The question is, should the city pay for it?

When asked why he needs ChatterBlast in addition to his $30,000-per-year PR consultant, Mr. Kenney replied:

“I, at 53 years old, do not have that facility…So I need consultant advice to communicate with a group of folks who are not necessarily in my age group.”

What do you think – should candidates running for office use their Twitter account personally, or should the account be used by  staffers to prompt the campaign’s agenda? Once elected, should practices change, or can elected officials continue the practice of seeking outside expertise to communicate with their constituents?

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