A Day in the Life of the Governor

Since my class topic is Massachusetts’s politics, I had to be careful when selecting a site that posting inaccurate political “facts”, or some other far-left/far-right wacko blog. To make it easier on myself, I simply picked a blog of a government official. The blog I selected is https://blog.mass.gov/governor/, which is “The Official blog of the Office of the Massachusetts Governor,” Charlie Baker.

A lot of the blog is keeping up with what the Governor has been attending, and photos from these events. The set up of the blog looks eerily similar to what most of us have on our wordpress sites, with a “Commonwealth Blogs” blogroll, a word cloud of most popular tags, categories, and archives going back to April of 2015.

I personally enjoy the blog because it gives some idea of what the governor spends his time doing, and explains the events he’s been attending, people he has talked to, and initiatives his office is undertaking.

I think this website could be better if the governor wrote any of these posts himself. A lot of the writing seems to read like a press release or a “look what great things Charlie has been doing” website. Mayor Marty Walsh has his own blog as well, and most (if not all) of the posts are written by him, for his constituents.

Its not possible for readers to engage directly on the blog, rather they direct you to their “Office of Constituent Services, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube channel instead, which is something I think detracts from the website. Although, realistically if someone needs to get in contact with the office, they most likely would be calling the phone line rather than asking questions on his blog. Last month the site got around 74.9k hits.

Screen grab from blog
Screen grab from blog
Screen grab from blog
Screen grab from blog

When I ran it through SimilarWeb, I saw almost 90% of their hits came from the US, and coming in #2 was, surprisingly India, then St. Lucia. However, the average duration visit was 34 seconds. Their bounce rate was 43.16%.

Screen grab from SimilarWeb
Screen grab from SimilarWeb

A majority of the traffic sources came from people searching through a website like Google (most popular organic keywords were mbta map, and vote the person not the party) but a surprising amount came from going to the website directly. Those who were referred from other sites came from mass.gov, doe.mass.edu (the Department of Education website).

Screen grab from SimilarWeb
Screen grab from SimilarWeb

The website uses no display advertising, however, given its technically a government website, this isn’t surprising since the goal isn’t to make money off the website.

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Boston might get a lot messier…

On Saturday afternoon, the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ voted to strike amidst negotiations for a new contract. The union, which has 13,000 members, would begin the strike if they don’t reach an agreement with Maintenance Contractors Association New England (MCNE) by Friday, which is when their current contract expires.

Photo creds to http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/09/24/boston-janitors-union-appoves-strike-march-back-bay-mbta-maintenance-contractors-new-england/
Photo creds to http://boston.cbslocal.com/2016/09/24/boston-janitors-union-appoves-strike-march-back-bay-mbta-maintenance-contractors-new-england/

The conflict surrounds more employer-paid health care to family member for full-time employees, and a cost of living wage increase, as well as shifting from part-time jobs to more fulltime (currently 30% of the union is full-time, according to the Boston Globe article). However, Matt Ellis, spokesman for the Maintenance Contractors of New England, stated that MCNE has agreed to family health coverage (with no employee contribution for full-timers), and 2.24 percent increase in wages each year for the next four years, which would bring wages up to $19.45 by 2020.

“We believe real progress was made on economic issues like wages and health care. As a result, the MCNE believes today’s union strike vote is unnecessary,” said Ellis. “The MCNE is confident a fair and reasonable settlement can and will be reached without a strike.”

According to a statement, the union is also pushing for protections against unreasonable workloads.

The striking janitors clean roughly 2,000 building throughout Boston, including the Prudential, Vertex and the John Hancock, as well as multiple colleges such as Simmons, Wentworth, and Northeastern (so I personally will be impacted if this strike occurs; yuck!). The MBTA will also be affected, which could impact every commuter should conditions deteriorate rapidly.

Mayor Marty Walsh has said he would not cross the picket line into the buildings the union is striking against should the strike occur.

“Certainly, the janitors in Boston do vital work for our city. I support their work. I know every four to five years this happens. I’m hopeful they reach an agreement,” Walsh told the Boston Herald. Walsh is a former labor union leader, whose ties helped him into office. However, when two of his administration officials were indicted on extortion charges this summer, his relationships came under fire.

Seeing as there are four days left until the strike begins, I’m personally hoping they will come to some agreement. Otherwise, things are going to get very smelly around Northeastern very quickly!

 

Joining the Word of Twitter

This week I dusted off the old twitter account from freshman year that I made for an intro journalism class, and jumped back into the Twitter world. Since I still am newish to the platform, I expect that this list will change drastically throughout the semester, however for the time being I have narrowed down a list of Massachusetts-centered people to follow to get updates on all things politics on Beacon Hill.

1.@MassGovernor: Who better to start off the list than the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker? Given he is one of the most heavily involved people in Boston-politics, as well as state-wide politics, this was a Twitter account I couldn’t afford to not follow

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2.@marty_walsh: If I was going to follow Charlie Baker, a logical next step was to follow his Boston-based colleague Mayor Marty Walsh. Given how much is going on in both the national and state election, a vast majority of his tweets have to do with politics. Although I’m secretly hoping Baker and him will release another parody music video.

3. & 4. @MassGOP and @massdems: I lumped these two together so this post didn’t look like I was biased either way. I decided to follow both of these accounts because they frequently use the hashtag #mapoli, for obvious reasons. Although the GOP has a smaller following in Massachusetts (both literally and on Twitter), both accounts have a lot at stake in the upcoming local elections. Although most of the things they tweet will have a slant, by following both hopefully I can find a happy middle ground.

5.@titojackson: After following the wrong Tito Jackson initially (from the Jackson 5, oops!) the RIGHT Tito Jackson seemed like a logical person to follow on twitter. Jackson has been incredibly vocal about this year’s state ballot questions, especially about lifting the charter school cap. He represents district 7, and represents all of Roxbury, and parts of South End, Dorchester, and Fenway.

“Wrong” Titoscreen-shot-2016-09-20-at-6-47-12-pm

“Right” Tito

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6.@ShiraCenter: Shira Center is a political editor at the Boston Globe. I will be checking this account less frequently than others however, because there also are a good number of tweets that are more “personal” than “newsworthy”.

7. @FeliceBelman: Felice Belman is another political editor for the Boston Globe. Unlike Center, there appears to be more postings regarding political news (even if they are mostly from the Boston Globe). As my Twitter-ness develops, I am hoping to expand outside the Boston Globe circle.

8.@SenMikeMoore: Senator Michael Moore represents Worcester district. Since he is a representative in the local legislature, he frequently tweets about local issues, especially the local ballot questions. He also retweets often.
9.@KennyTorrella: Kenny Torrella is an activist who works at “Yes on 3 to Prevent Animal Cruelty in MA”. Since this is the ballot question I feel like I know the least about, I wanted to see what his twitter feed would look like. I am trying to find an opponent of the ballot question to follow as well. Torrella already messaged me with a link to read more about his initiative, so following seems like a good thing.

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10. @SoniaChangDiaz: Sonia Chang-Diaz is another state senator representing the 2nd Suffolk District. Since she is the chair for the Joint Committee on Education, and there’s a ballot question surrounding public schools vs. charter schools, I thought it would be interesting to see what she tweets/retweets on the matter.

I will definitely be adding to these throughout the semester, and following the #mapoli on TweetDeck!