Philadelphia at-large councilman Jim Kenney is reportedly spending almost $29K in taxpayer money this year for a company to perfect his social media strategy. Said social media marketing company Chatterblast is being paid to monitor his Facebook and Twitter accounts, and also posts on Kenney’s campaign-funded website.
When asked about why he needs to pay someone almost thirty grand a year to watch his Facebook, Kenney stated, “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.” Kenney also employs PR guy Martin O’Rourke, who has a $30K communications contract with the councilman’s office over the fiscal year – and O’Rourke also lacks the facility to tweet, stating, “I have no clue how to tweet; I still don’t understand the mechanics of it. It’s a thing of the future.”
Kenney, who comes off like a member of the First Continental Congress, is also sometimes alleged to tweet on his own, without any professional help. Topics cover everything from legislation to what the councilman might be having for lunch. Though Matthew Ray, a co-founder of ChatterBlast, says the work the firm does with Kenney is a good use of taxpayer funds, and claims that citizens’ problems have been solved due to Kenney’s account. “Having the councilman connect with people via social media is as important as having people read the Twitter feed for Target or Kim Kardashian,” said Ray, adding, “I think everyone knows $28,000 isn’t a huge amount.”
In related news, it was recently reported that a targeted ad strategy on Facebook helped a newcomer win a mayoral election in Rapid City, South Dakota. Though this seems a little different than what Kenney seems to be doing in hooking up his friends with made-up jobs and contracts.