By Brian Bearden
Looking for a way to plug-into what’s happening in her city, Sarah Boswell pulled out her phone. Turning to Twitter and the Internet, she quickly found fountains of facts on Frisco, Texas.
Boswell went back to Twitter and Foursquare, focused on Frisco and found a flood of Tweets from the mayor of Frisco by Maher Maso (@MaherMaso).
“Twitter really cuts down on the barriers between us and elected officials,” said Boswell, self-proclaimed digital mayor of Frisco on Twitter. “With this one little point of entry, I was able to talk directly with many people in Frisco including the mayor. I found out that real mayor of Frisco was tech-savvy like I was.”
She Tweeted to Frisco Mayor Maso that it was customary for the real mayor of a city to take the digital mayor to lunch. Maso replied with an invitation to coffee.
“I said something snarky about being the digital mayor, and he answered me,” Boswell said. “I had so many questions about Frisco, and I learned a lot from Maher Maso.”
As “digital mayor” of Frisco, Boswell wants to be a source on Frisco. She is one of the founders of Technically Mayor (@Techmayor on Twitter).
“Breaking news happens now on Twitter first,” Boswell said. “When Osama Bin Laden was killed, I had all the news right there on Twitter. It was another three hours before it made the news.
“User behavior has shifted toward becoming more informed by the Internet,” she said. “With Twitter and Facebook, it is a doable thing.”
Boswell told the Lincoln Society of Collin County at the group’s monthly gathering at Mimi’s Cafe in Allen that it doesn’t take long to learn how to use social media.
“I built my Twitter following from zero to 1,400,” said Boswell, vice president of business development for WrightIMC, a search engine optimization and social media marketing and reputation management firm based in Plano, Texas. “Once you get comfortable with it, you can get a lot out of social media.
“I started slow, just watching what others did,” she said. “Find someone you want to follow and follow them. Then you can begin to follow the people they follow. It is all visible on the Web.”
Boswell said her pet peeve on Twitter is people who use fake usernames.
“I am so anti-fluffybunny42,” Boswell said, laughing. “Just use your real name.
“I have heard people say that Facebook is where you can lie to your friends, and Twitter is where you tell the absolute truth to the people you don’t know.”
She enjoys the brevity imposed by Twitter.
“Huge long-winded rants don’t happen on Twitter,” Boswell said. “On social media you can add followers by avoiding selling all the time. That turns people off. Instead, comment on a movie. Talk about what’s happening now. You can have fun and be snarky on Twitter. I love being a little snarky.”
She suggests that Twitter and Facebook let personalities come out.
“They can see that you are chatting about a movie, and say wow, that’s the mayor talking about the movie I just saw. You can talk about music. They will see that and say, I like that song, too. Twitter makes it possible for you to have small conversations with them. It brings us closer to our elected officials.”
The Lincoln Society meeting included numerous local candidates for various offices.
“I think my story is really, really typical,” Boswell said. “I had lived in Frisco for years and never voted or been involved in the city. I had never been to a city council meeting. I’m not part of those who already know what’s happening and vote in every election because they are tuned in. … I have never received an invitation to a candidate’s kickoff party. I wanted to be more involved, and I wanted to say good things about my city. There is a big rivalry between people inside [Interstate] 635 and the people in the suburbs. I love Frisco. I want other people to love where I live.”
Boswell can be followed at twitter.com/sarahboswell and on Foursquare at foursquare.com/sarahboswell.
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