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.
"It's like a fireside chat," Evans said. "What we're seeing is, people like to be touched and answered.
"In the computer age, when they get an e-mail from me or a podcast from me, it just reinforces in their minds that we're in touch," Evans said.
On the mayor's blog, the comments and questions started slowly but gathered steam:
"Mr. Mayor: I have seen you in the Whole Foods wine section. What is your favorite bottle of wine and where is it produced?" asked "timmi002."
Others lavished praise on Williams for his job as mayor and for the wisdom of starting a blog.
There were even two questions from writers who were interested in Williams's mentioning of ornithology and might want to go bird-watching with the mayor.
But, of course, it didn't take long for the irritated and unhappy to find the site.
Take this from "price":
"Tony, I live next door to a construction site for a Washington, D.C. public school project. Your contractor starts work at about 5:00 in the morning, and the noise wakes me up. Seriously, Tony, I am at my breaking point with it. Your city taxes the hell out of me, and I can barely afford to live in this over priced ghetto. Please tell your contractors to refrain from starting work at such an early hour."
In the mayor's second message, Williams admonished posters that there was no censorship of postings "as part of some conspiracy."
He asked people to call the city's complaint line with service requests. And hey, lay off the "expressive but not very helpful comment on ignorant public officials or employees."
Williams said a couple of messages have been memorable. For example, there was the woman who wrote that she didn't expect anybody to respond. "I'm going to talk to her today," Williams said.
Then there was the person who wrote that all city employees are "idiots." "Well, that's not very helpful," Williams said. "I can't help you if you say the whole city is going to hell in a hand basket."
Staff writer Lori Montgomery contributed to this report.
The mayor's blog can be found at blog.mayor.dc.gov.