Friday, March 13, 2009

Georgia mayor's Facebook page confuses nation

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2009 at 6:00 PM

Meet Boyd Austin, mayor of Dallas, Ga. Consider him added to the list of folks who need to realize what many people already know: The Internet was invented to place you in awkward situations.

Yesterday, political blog Wonkette wondered what Austin was talking about when he updated his Facebook status message to say this:

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The status message refers to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent visit to the United States. Brown gave President Barack Obama a pen holder carved from a magical tree. Obama gave Brown a set of DVDs (come on, we're in a recession, people!). This pissed off the British media.

I was also baffled by Austin's status update. Confused as to what I should do, I dusted off my Creative Loafing Employee Ethics Manual, turned to the appendix, and saw that I was supposed to "call the story's subject." I was pretty sure that was Austin. The mayor, who identifies himself as such on his Facebook profile, sounded surprised that anyone noticed the status message.

In a phone conversation with CL last night, Austin said "I've got some folks who play with my Facebook" and asked me to email him the Wonkette link. He said he'd get back to me. No response as of this writing, though.

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Commenters on Wonkette called the quizzical message racist, saying the "quart of the Bull" comment refers to a malt beverage. That's most likely Schlitz, which features a bull on its label. Its nickname is "The Bull." Whatever Austin meant to imply is best left for him to explain. Gimme a call, Mr. Mayor!

Austin has since cleared his status, but the questionable update remains on his Facebook Wall. Aside from that message, Austin's updates usually deal with Republican memes, reminders for friends to vote for Saxby, genuine exclamations of "TGIF," and thoughts about University of Georgia football. Add some photos of himself with Gov. Sonny Perdue at a fraternity formal and it looks like we've got a textbook Georgia politician from the exurbs.

I guess the lesson we learn from this is that it's best not to let "some folks" have access to your Facebook profile, especially when you're the mayor of a city. Or at least change your privacy settings. If a Dallas resident were to visit Austin's profile to try and connect with his or her local government, what would they think of the status message?

(Courtesy City of Dallas' website)

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