How Washington Surpassed Silicon Valley as America's 'Top Twitter Town'

Congratulations, Washington, D.C.! Men's Health Magazine has just named you America's "Top Twitter Town." But wait, did a "political town" just surpass tech hotbeds like Silicon Valley, California and Austin, Texas on its way to the top spot?

Congratulations, Washington, D.C.! Men’s Health Magazine has just named you America’s “Top Twitter Town.” But wait, did a “political town” just surpass tech hotbeds like Silicon Valley, California and Austin, Texas on its way to the top spot?

Yes, forget Palo Alto, Calif., home to Facebook, or the cities in Northern California where LinkedIn and Twitter are based, Washington, D.C. has been crowned America’s “Most Socially Networked City.”
The nation’s capitol earned an A+ rating in the new survey ranking cities’ social networking obsessions. It was followed in the top five by Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle. San Francisco was, in fact, the only California city to crack the top 10.
“D.C. is where staying connected can get out the vote. (President) Obama is an avid Twitter user. More D.C.-based government agencies have begun using social networks and it’s an area concentrated with nonprofits and trade organizations,” said David Zinczenko, editor in chief of Men’s Health.
But just how, exactly, did D.C. earn that ‘A+’ rating?
To get its results, Men’s Health calculated the number of Facebook and LinkedIn users, Twitterers, and use of other major social networks. It also considered the percentage of households that check out chat rooms and blogs.
According to the magazine, one reason D.C. led is because “virtual handshakes help shape our nation.”
Take into account that almost every member of Congress now has a Facebook page, Web site and Twitter handle. A group of House Democrats just hosted a “Twitter Town Hall” on the federal budget, while a Republican member Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), @repjustinamash, tweets about his vote on every bill that comes up.
A study last year found that Senate Republicans had attracted 3,000 Twitter followers in one month alone, while 41 percent of Democratic senators reported using Twitter to engage with constituents.
In the Executive Branch, officials follow the lead of their boss President Obama, arguably the first, true “social media president,” and chat on GovLoop about the current issues, or Tweet about new initiatives their offices are taking on.
Dozens of government agencies now have YouTube channels, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, while the Library of Congress has posted thousands of historical photos on Flickr.
And by in engaging in social media, elected officials, no doubt, are just responding to the public.
A 2010 Pew study found that 53 percent of voters said they used social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to follow politics because they felt the information was more reliable than what they received through traditional news media.
Washington is also the capital, in every sense of the word, of politics and networking, where every staffer, intern and bureaucrat has a LinkedIn account and is logged in to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Foursquare and the like to make their presence known.
The survey will appear in the April issue of Men’s Health magazine, published by Rodale, Inc.
Falling in the not-so-socially-obsessed category was El Paso, Texas, which received an “F” as the least socially networked city. Los Angeles ranked No. 33, while New York City came in at No. 53.
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