Pasadena's tweets heard round the world
01/12/2013 02:16:20 PM PST
01/12/2013 02:32:41 PM PST
The City of Pasadena's Twitter account has become one of the most successful when compared to other local cities. It has more than 12,000 followers and had more than 3.5 million views from the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game.
PASADENA - On Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game day, the city's Twitter feed reached more than 3.5 million pairs of eyes.
People across the country tuned in to @PasadenaGov to look at pictures of the floats, read a press release about parade safety tips and learn the final score of the football game. Pasadena's Twitter handle was mentioned 400 times, and the city's posts were retweeted more than 1,600 times.
"We had so much activity, Twitter shut me down twice on New Year's Day, they sent me messages saying you're exceeding your tweeting quota," Pasadena Public Information Officer William Boyer said. "Who knew that could even happen?"
For Boyer, the city's New Year's social media boom was what he had been working toward since he was hired last year. With the help of consultant Nick Venezia, whom the city hired on a six-month $25,000 contract in August, the city's Twitter account has jumped from just one follower to more than 12,000 in five months.
"It's extremely gratifying," Boyer said. "Up until now (Twitter) has been an underutilized tool by the city and it's just another way of communicating important information as well as showcasing the city."
Boyer credits the city's digital success with the "fun" pictures and facts posted, as well as
com/PasadenaGov' target="_blank">@PasadenaGov interactions with other Twitter users, which he and Venezia make a priority.
He said some of the most popular tweets he's sent recently were photos of the Rose Parade floats, but pictures of sites around town, Pasadena facts and history also are popular.
"It isn't just the dry government news, it's fun things like that, it's what Twitter is about," Boyer said. "It's the social engagement, it's the conversation."
Compared with other local cities, Pasadena's online following blows the majority of the competition out of the water. Pomona, Glendale, Burbank, Downey and Alhambra range between 300 and 1,000 followers, while Long Beach has nearly 6,500.
Dora Vertenten, of the USC Price School of Public Policy, said Pasadena stands out as "an example" of how cities can use Twitter to promote city events, interact with residents and get out important information.
"Each city approaches it with a different philosophy" Vertenten said.
"Many see it as an opportunity for citizens to have direct engagement ... others take a more chamber of commerce approach as kind of a marketing tool ... others as a service to citizenry to respond to question and concerns," he said. "Pasadena does the whole thing, they respond to sort-of any and all of those levels."
Boyer said he thinks only New York City and Los Angeles have Pasadena beat when it comes to social media clout.
With upwards of 50,000 followers, the Los Angeles Mayor's office, @LAMayorsOffice outnumbers @PasadenaGov.
The account acts as the city's central social media feed, serving a population of nearly four million compared with Pasadena's 140,000.
Bret Vandenbos, social media director for the Mayor's Office, said having a strong social media presence is important for a large city to disseminate information.
Some of @LAMayorsOffice's most popular Twitter moments have been during big events such as "Carmageddon" and moving the Endeavour space shuttle.
"I think Twitter, because of the immediacy of it, offers a very good opportunity to get information out very quickly, especially in a scenario like Carmageddon where things were changing all the time," Vendenbos said. "You are able to pump that information out and know that people are seeing it and retweeting it to their following in real time."
Coming off the city's Rose Parade success, Boyer said he hopes he can continue to expand his Twitter reach, encouraging other city departments and elected officials to use it as well.
"The content is the king," Boyer said. "The key is it has to remain active, it has to be engaging."