- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Welcome to Twitter, Chris Coudriet.

New Hanover County’s manager has opened his own Twitter account, joining the wild, 140-character world where pop stars are more popular than the president (Barack Obama would love to have Katy Perry’s numbers).

“I thought it an appropriate, and I hope long-term effective, (way to) keep people apprised of what we’re doing,” Coudriet said.

His first tweet from @chris_coudriet, sent July 2, was a retweet of the county health department asking people to take a survey. And his 68 followers so far, as of Tuesday, is a modest start — he’ll need about 65 million more to catch Justin Bieber.

Coudriet, if he keeps up his Twitter activity, will be unique among high-ranking government officials in the area. Neither Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy nor Pender County Manager Randell Woodruff use Twitter. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo stopped using his account in 2011 and City Manager Sterling Cheatham doesn’t have an account at all.

Coudriet said he views his role on Twitter as more contextual than the general county Twitter feed, @NewHanoverCo.

“There are things that come out from the New Hanover County Twitter account that would be broader,” he said. Coudriet’s tweets “might not customarily be on the New Hanover County Twitter account but are something where I want to push out the information.”

Brunswick County’s official Twitter account, @BrunswickGovt, has sent hundreds of tweets since its creation in 2013. But Pender County, which created its handle in March, has tweeted just three times, two of which were retweets about bad weather.

New Hanover County Commissioners’ use of the platform is varied. Commissioner Woody White is the most active, with tweets sent in the last week from two accounts he manages, while Commissioner Skip Watkins doesn’t have an account. Chairman Jonathan Barfield hasn’t used his Twitter account in more than 150 days. Commissioner Rob Zapple has sent just one tweet — nearly 700 days ago.

“It’s something I’ve never found the value in,” Watkins said.

Vice Chairwoman Beth Dawson stopped using Twitter nearly 1,000 days ago, according to her profile. Dawson said a volunteer ran her Twitter account.

“I don’t even know how to sign into it,” she said.

While she has slowed her use of Twitter, a handle was created where users can “follow” Dawson’s typical hair style — @bdponytail. That Twitter handle has sent four more tweets than the actual Beth Dawson.

“Yes, I’m aware of it,” Dawson said with a laugh. “I’ve had the same hairstyle for 20 years.”

“I’m quite flattered, I suppose. I think it’s just something silly,” she said.

Contact Tim Buckland at (910)343-2217 or [email protected]

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(c)2015 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

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