Blogger extraordinaire Dave Winer does it many times a day and nearly 30,000 people follow his every word. Sustainable food guru Michael Pollan thought he was going to do it, but probably found he was too busy and has only graced us with his 140-character apercus 15 times since he launched himself into micro-blogging.

Few of Berkeley’s luminaries seem to have got the Twitter bug. A non-scientific survey reveals Winer (@davewiner*) way out in the lead — with 29,521 followers and 24,385 tweets to date. Winer even includes the word “Twitterer” in his Twitter bio which reads “Bi-Coastal Media Hackerer, Twitterer, NYU Scholar.” And now that he spends half his time in the Big Apple, he isn’t technically even a 100% Berkeleyite.

Michael Pollan (@michaelpollan) has an impressive 13,027 followers, but has tweeted just 15 times.

Author Ayelet Waldman (@ayeletw) — pictured above — has taken to Twitter like a duck to water , and has racked up 1,917 tweets since she started and attracted 2,186 followers.

As one would expect from the author of Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What it’s Becoming and Why it Matters, Scott Rosenberg (@scottros) is a regular on Twitter. He has 3,243 followers and has tweeted 2,236 times as of this writing.

Similarly you’d be amazed if Markos Moulitsas (@markos) didn’t tweet. The founder of the liberal blog Daily Kos appears to do little else. He has 17,028 followers and has tweeted 12,651 times.

Interestingly, Berkeley author of The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard, who is currently on a major book promotion tour, has set up a Twitter account (@anniemleonard) but it has “protected” her tweets — meaning one has to send a request to follow her — and, perhaps as a result,  has no followers as yet.

Are there other Berkeley “names” out there we’ve forgotten? We do know there is a clutch of Berkeleyites we would like to see on Twitter. Here’s our wish-list:

  • Mayor Tom Bates (he has the Twitter handle at @mayortombates, but, as we have pointed out before, he has yet to publish his first tweet);
  • Any or all of Berkeley’s City Councilmembers
  • Author Michael Lewis, although given his reluctance to even use email, twittering seems improbable. In a recent piece on The Atlantic Wire he said: “I don’t tweet, I don’t Twitter, I couldn’t even tell you how to read or where to find a Twitter message. I don’t actually see the point of limiting communication to a haiku. I find the whole effusion of communications technology bewildering… I have an email address and I’m thinking of shutting that down.”
  • Food doyenne Alice Waters
  • Wine connoiseur and bon vivant Kermit Lynch
  • Ayelet’s other half, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon
  • Investigative reporter Lance Williams
  • Architecture critic and Berkeley resident John King

Any other Berkeley-related folk you’d like to see share their (succinct) words of wisdom in the Twittersphere?

*To see anyone on Twitter, append their handle to twitter.com, as in twitter.com/davewiner.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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13 Comments

  1. Just wanted to mention that I do tweet via my organizational account, please join! We tweet about all kinds of issues related to our stuff and opportunities for action.

    People can follow Annie Leonard and the whole Story of Stuff team at:
    http://twitter.com/storyofstuff

    And for those who haven’t seen the Story of Stuff films, please check out http://www.storyofstuff.org

    Tweet on,
    Annie Leonard

  2. HAPPY TO SEE SOMEONE POSTED – WAVY GRAVY! I love that guy! He is such a local Berkeley hero! I follow his organization SEVA, also based here in Berkeley on Twitter and facebook. They often mention WAVY GRAVY along with many of the local musicians who have special events, some events aren’t even released to the public and the only way to find out is by being part of these networks! Check them out, they are doing such great anti-poverty work around the world! ON TWITTER AT: http://twitter.com/Seva_Foundation
    FACEBOOK: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/30790

  3. I like what Berto said above. Twitter’s populartity contest got old for me although I do really like finding other local berkeley and east bay folks. So….. I made umhai.com/berkeley and hope people take to it. Anyone can post to it, I’m hoping some berkeley peeps find a use for it. Maybe an open town forum?

  4. I guess it depends on how well known the person has to be for this list, and what qualifies as being “Berkeley.” Does it count if you’re from Berkeley but don’t live here (@ginawelch)? Or if you tweet about good Berkeley stuff but people may not know who you are (@buylocalberk)?

    As for who I’d like to see, I think you already nailed it with Lewis and Chabon. Oh, how about Dr. Harry Edwards? He’d be good.

  5. Tim, in my innocence I’d never heard of Aaron Cometbus. But it looks like he’s now in Brooklyn, so even if he tweets, he won’t really qualify as Berkeley.

  6. My wish list was going to include the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and the Greater Good Science Center… but it turns out they are both already on Twitter:

    J-School at @ucbsoj
    Greater Good (Christine Carter) at @raisinghappines

    I’d love to see a twitter feed from the Jack Kerouac of the Berkeley punk scene, Aaron Cometbus, but I don’t think tweeting is very punk. There is an @AARONCOMETBUS, but it’s not him, it’s a fan tweeting about him.

  7. Lance: I can see I should have consulted you before writing this post! We’ll just have to compile a new list and post about Berkeley tweeters again.