Rahm-bo manic about social media

  • Article by: SUSAN HOGAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2011 - 8:01 PM
Image from fake Twitter account parodying Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago

Image from fake Twitter account parodying Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago

Photo: file, Star Tribune

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Now that Rahm Emanuel has been elected mayor of Chicago, his Twitter account is picking up followers by the thousands.

But in the days, weeks and months leading up to the election, it was a fake account parodying the tart-tongued politician that everyone wanted to follow.

In hopes of turning the tide, last week Emanuel offered to fork over $2,500 to charity if the impersonator would come clean. That attracted even more fans to the fake site.

At the time, the fake account -- @MayorEmanuel -- drew 26,000 followers. Emanuel's actual account -- @RahmEmanuel -- had 7,000.

Since Tuesday's election, the number of real account followers has swelled to more than 11,000. The fake account, however, is growing even faster -- now courting more than 38,000 fans.

Why the success of the fake account? It plays off the image of Emanuel as a hothead whose behind-the-scenes speech is riddled with profanity. Even his Twitter bio contains two expletives.

Before his mayoral bid, Emanuel served as President Obama's chief of staff. He stepped down from the White House post last year to run for mayor of the Windy City (so named because of the political bluster there). But it wasn't smooth sailing.

The people renting his Chicago-area home refused to move out. The fake Twitter comically reported that he'd been unable to find an apartment and, therefore, moved into the crawl space of his old place.

Emanuel also faced legal battles over whether he'd been an Illinois citizen for the amount of time required to qualify to run for mayor.

Among the questions he was asked under oath: When was the last time you attended a Cubs game?

When he takes office in a few weeks, he'll break new ground as Chicago's first Jewish mayor. Whether he can hold his tongue from actually swearing when being sworn into office remains to be seen.

Susan Hogan is a Star Tribune editorial writer. Follow her on Twitter @StribSusan.

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Image from fake Twitter account parodying Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel of Chicago