A 250-pound bear climbs a tree in Connecticut, and the local mayor live tweets about it. It sounds like a pretty standard day on Twitter, but this particular encounter was different.
It went crazy viral.
How does a seemingly ordinary alert from a mayor about a bear incident become the subject of the entire Internet’s curiosity? Well, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton’s Twitter presence explains a lot about his personality. Known for tweeting rap lyrics and maintaining a casually silly presence on the social media site, Boughton is the mayoral version of a lounge lizard compared to other high-profile political social media stars (the heroic Cory Booker, hailing one state over in New Jersey, comes to mind).
— MayorMark (@MayorMark) June 3, 2013
So, when Boughton spots the black bear up in the tree, he begins a voracious, pun-peppered live tweet that not only reaches deep into the barrel of corny jokes…
… but also makes fun of some common livetweet tropes in the process.
Naturally, the hilarity of the nearly four-hour livetweeting session (complete with the hashtag #danbeary) ended up in an abridged version on BuzzFeed as “Mayor vs. Bear,” complete with GIFs of the mayor and plenty of photos. The bear, now safely in custody after two well-placed tranquilizer darts, didn’t get out without a few well-place photos with Boughton himself.
— MayorMark (@MayorMark) June 4, 2013
Of course, the real question is: why is this so viral? Perhaps the most plausible reason as to why it tickles our funny bone is Boughton’s blatant subversion of using Live Tweeting as a smart means of reporting. These days, everyone Live Tweets everything, from breaking news to the latest awards show. But something about using the technique to talk about a single bear in a tree in a quiet part of a Connecticut town seems over the top. Throw in the fact that the incident’s sole reporter is the mayor, and it seems pretty ridiculous.
If there’s anything to take away from “Mayor vs. Bear,” it’s to choose your reportage wisely. The bear story is old news, but the wacky Live Tweeting Mayor is one hot story. And please, cool it with the Live Tweets, okay?
What do you think of “Mayor vs. Bear”? Let us know in the comments.
- Pew: There's a 'Spiral of Silence' on Social Media
- Journalism Under Attack
- $5,000 Top Prize for Gannett Foundation’s Al Neuharth Award for Investigative Journalism
- Which Pubs Perform the Best on Social Media?