Mayor Punctuates His New Blog With Silence

By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mayor Anthony A. Williams can usually be found wearing a bow tie, not an iPod.

Nonetheless, Williams (D) decided to do a cannonball dive into the new world of blogs. He posted his first installment, "Getting Started: What Button Do I Push?" on Aug. 15.

In the nine days the mayor has had his blog, 44 responders have tried to engage him.

But after a while, it seemed to some that the host had left the party. Days started to go by without a post from Williams. After six days without a mayoral missive, responders became impatient.

"Mr. Mayor: You really need to make some comments so we can know what your views are," asked "bjones." "How long do you think folks will stay tuned?"

Williams finally posted a second message Monday and, in an interview yesterday, said he is committed to making the blog into a "cyber town hall meeting" that allows him to reach out to city residents even when he's out of town or busy with meetings at the John A. Wilson Building, the District's city hall.

Web logs, or blogs, are made up largely of amateur punditry, pedestrian musings and partisan hackery, not usually the opinions of the elected leader of a major city.

Williams said that with the exception of racist or scatological comments, anything goes.

"I don't care if they're critical of me," he said.

Even with his blog, Williams might not be the high-tech leader in the Wilson Building. That title would go to council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), who does a weekly podcast, which can be downloaded and listened to on an iPod or other digital media player. And his Web site comes with an RSS feed, which allows Web users to monitor updates to the site.

"I'm the podcast guy; do you believe that?" Evans said.

He said he has gotten a positive response.


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