In this month’s issue of Philadelphia magazine, Jessica Remo explores “the existential crisis of the smartphone generation.” In short, she wonders when the heck we started caring more about our lives on social media than our lives in the real world. There’s plenty of articles that will expand upon the evils of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and whatever other social network pops up overnight—Vine, anyone?—but for news junkies and knowledge lovers, social media changes the way we consume information. Philadelphia, like most other major media cities, has active Twitter users spreading the word about what’s happening all across our region. Here is an unranked list of who does it the most, and the best: Philly’s most influential Tweeters.
1. Jim Gardner
What happens when an old-school broadcast news icon reinvents himself using Twitter? He revolutionizes how everyone from boomers to Millennials consumes the news.
2. HughE Dillon
Is Miley Cyrus in town? Trust us. HughE knows what she’s wearing, eating and thinking. And he’s tweeting every nanosecond of it for his popular society blog, PhillyChitChat.com, so you know, too.
3. Jen A. Miller
The author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May has more info on what’s happening downashore than any media outlet. The Twitter account of this passionate advocate of all things Jersey was shut down during Hurricane Irene because she tweeted so vigorously to help storm victims find help and shelter. Her nickname? Jersey Shore Jen. Natch.
4. Fake WIP Caller
You think tough-tawkin’ South Philly fans are hard on the Birds and Phils? @FakeWIPCaller not only gives the roughest (and funniest) commentary on our local athletes—he’s got his finger on the rapid pulse of sports fan all around the region, which makes him the ultimate gauge for the city’s overall morale.
5. Michael Nutter
There’s something endlessly endearing and inspiring about a mayor who answers citizen questions—on subjects from holiday trash pickup to property taxes to his plan to squash flash mobs—on Twitter. And he’s not afraid to call people out for being rude or inflammatory—just ask the people who got a stern Tweeting-to for littering.
6. Kristen Graham
This Pulitzer Prize-winning Inky reporter tweets her way through school board meetings, classroom visits and any other breaking education news. She also connects with both parents and teachers, making her at least 150 percent more effective than anyone on the School Reform Commission.
7. Joseph Murray
The single most likable cop in all of Philadelphia. If he tells you to zip up your purse to foil pickpockets in Starbucks, you zip up and thank your lucky stars you follow him.
8. Jim MacMillan
An award-winning photojournalist, MacMillan has earned a following on GunCrisis.org, a website dedicated to reporting on gun violence in the city. In addition to bullets and homicides, MacMillan tweets voraciously about media, news, and anything else that sparks his (and our) wide-ranging interests.
9. Desiree Peterkin Bell
She worked in Michael Bloomberg’s and Cory Booker’s administrations, then as one of Mayor Nutter’s top aides, then left to run Pennsylvania’s Obama for America campaign, then returned to the Nutter administration, where she currently advises on communications and strategy. In short: She’s the consummate political insider.
10. King Britt
Everyone in the world follows Questlove, but everyone in Philadelphia should also follow this “sonic architect” (translation: badass DJ). He knows what’s cool way before anyone else and tweets about it on the regular.
11. Jimmy Rollins
You want up-to-the-minute game analysis? He tweets from the dugout!
12. Marc Vetri
Whether he’s railing against Center City Restaurant Week, trash-talking Jose Garces or sharing photos from the kitchen, Philly’s most recognizable chef owns the online conversation when it comes to food.
13. Adam Aron
The man made us care about the Sixers again by being just a regular guy on Twitter—a regular guy who can answer fan questions and commiserate about fallen mascot Hip Hop.
14. Kishwer V. Barrica
Barrica, co-host of the Talkadelphia podcast and lady-about-town, is the Kevin Bacon of Twitter in this town. She’s only a few connections away from everyone you’d want to know or Tweet.
15. Buzz Bissinger
He isn’t always nuts on Twitter. But when he is, you want to be there for it, because he’s putting into words your feelings about politics, news and prominent figures. Just with more F-bombs.
* Number of followers at time of publication.