It was almost quitting time on Tuesday when John Gordon and his co-workers started talking about whether the Dodgers would clinch a playoff berth. Gordon is the director of social media at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which means he oversees the agency's use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“We started talking how would we kind of take advantage of that situation,” he said. The goal was “to have some fun there, and ultimately raise the profile of Metro and transit in general.”
At home, Gordon monitored the game on Twitter. As soon as the Dodgers beat the Giants to win the National League West, he was ready.
First, he thought, “I gotta burn San Francisco.”
The ride home on @sfmta_muni tonight. #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/fPW9SEGud3
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) September 30That did well, so it was on to Step 2. The Dodgers will face the New York Mets in the first round of the playoffs, so it was time to burn the New York MTA.
And it escalated from there.
Hey @MTA please tidy up the 7 trainThe GIF battle was on. Yes, this is something adults get paid to do by public-sector agencies in 2015.
@Dodgers blue is coming to town. #lolmets @Mets
— Metro (@metrolosangeles) September 30From there, it was on to burning random New Yorkers.
Gordon has an unfair advantage. While he was born and raised in Los Angeles, he lived in New York for 11 years, doing digital strategy for progressive causes. So he has an eye for New York's vulnerabilities.
“It's easy pickings, but on some level, so are we,” Gordon said. “We're both fabulous cities, and both easy targets.”
Now both sides are thinking up some sort of bet.
Most of the time, the MTA's Twitter account is used to alert riders to service interruptions or answer customer queries. In the six months that Gordon has been on the job, he's only gotten into one other Twitter fight, with Philadelphia, but that fizzled.
“We’re focused on how we ride the zeitgeist,” Gordon said. “The preferred method of a lot of folks to communicate with brands is through Twitter. If we're using it, we need to use it right.”
Meanwhile, San Francisco finally got in the game with perhaps the sickest burn of all.
A friendly wager
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