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It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's...Mayor Daley on YouTube?

By Kate Gardiner in News on Feb 24, 2009 9:45PM

2009_02_24_daleyyoutube.jpg Yup, that's right. Da Mayor has joined the rest of the milieu on YouTube, even if he has disabled embedding on all his videos. Richard M. Daley is not the first city politician to get on the social media bandwagon - but he is setting an example that all the rest of the Chicago's aldermen will likely follow - if they're not already there. In an interview last week, Ald. Manny Flores (1st, Wicker Park) said his experiments in social media served as experiments for the whole city - and that's why he's on Twitter. Meanwhile his colleague, Ald. Scott Waguespack is all about Facebook. "I'm not Manny, what with all the twittering and tweeting and the constant updates," he said. "We always know where he is - but Facebook has proved pretty cool."

The aldermen and four others, spend a lot of time on Facebook - Flores said he has even started taking service requests and distributing community alerts on his profile. He has more than 1,700 friends. Flores said, "It's great really, for community alerts, because it's viral, and I think it spreads information faster and more reliably to those really affected." Of course, some wards aren't quite so special - Ald. Ed Burke (14th) directs everyone to the Committee on Finance homepage - and good ol' fashioned face-to-face community interaction. Asked about the 40-year veteran's social media use, Burke spokesman Donal Quinlan said his boss isn't really involved in that aspect of the internet. “I wouldn’t rule it out for the future, but no, not really, not right now," Quinlan said. "He’s not on Facebook.”

The less-digital-more-face time theory didn't work for former 42nd Ward Ald. Burton Natarus, a 36-year veteran of city politics. He said he didn't really know about any aspect of online campaigning. He ran against Brendan Reilly. “I think we had email,” Natarus said. “The Haymarket Group handled all that stuff. Really, at the time, I was surprised we used television in an alderman’s race.” Reilly said his weekly email to the community is very popular. "We send it to at least 8,000 people," he said. "It's one of our best tools. And we save the money we would've spent on monthly mailings." Reilly said he hopes to send out a best-of annual, possibly even on paper.