Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York traveled to Singapore to accept the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prizaward for outstanding leadership and achievement in sustainable policy. It's an international award given out biennially that celebrates sustainable urban policies that are cost-effective and practical.
Despite the fact that Bloomberg maintains an outstanding social media presence, he warned citizens of Singapore of the downfalls of social media when it comes to leading a community.
In the following statements Bloomberg addresses his frustrations with leading a city where social media offers constant criticism and commentary on what decisions and policies are being made:
"Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments”
“We are basically having a referendum on every single thing that we do every day,”
“And it’s very hard for people to stand up to that and say, ‘No, no, this is what we’re going to do,’ when there’s constant criticism, and an election process that you have to look forward to and face periodically.”
Singaporean professor Kishore Mahbubani, who presided over the ceremony, responded to Bloomberg with enthusiasm:
“I think the Singapore government sympathizes with your point about social media,”
“We are having the same daily referendums in Singapore.”
Mayor Bloomberg has not been available to clarify on what exactly he meant with the comments, but some folks in New York have taken the statements to heart and feel that Bloomberg intended the remarks as an insult to the city.
In his stead, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson attempted to clarify the meaning of the mayors comments:
“The immediacy of social media, he has found, creates both opportunities — for information-sharing and for citizen empowerment — and challenges, for governments, for businesses, for media, to see beyond the next tweet, or the next blog post,”
“It’s more about planning for the next 20 years as opposed to the next 20 minutes,”
We'll wait to see what the mayor has to say when he returns from his travels in Asia. It seems the remarks were simply taken the wrong way by folks who live in New York.