Mayor Dewey Bartlett and City Councilor G.T. Bynum shake hands at a recent City Council meeting. The two men are the only announced candidates for mayor. KEVIN CANFIELD/The Frontier

City Councilor G.T. Bynum (left) and Mayor Dewey Bartlett shake hands at a recent City Council meeting. The two men are the only announced candidates for mayor. KEVIN CANFIELD/The Frontier

Every time I check my Twitter account, there’s Dewey Bartlett smiling in front of the American flag.

It didn’t use to be that way. A month ago, a Fake Dewey Bartlett tweet was much more likely to appear on my Twitter feed than a real Dewey Bartlett tweet.

Now the real thing is outpacing the funny phony thing.

What changed?

The election, that’s what. Bartlett, who was first elected mayor in 2009, officially announced his intention to seek a third term March 3. But leading up to the announcement, he was quietly getting his name out, lest folks forget what he’s been up to the last seven years.

Bartlett has resurrected his campaign account, @deweybartlett, which he activated in 2009.

“My campaign and personal accounts do become more active in election years because this is the time that people around Tulsa start to engage within the political process and I need to have a separate account for that purpose,” Bartlett said.

After not having tweeted or retweeted from that account since late 2013, Bartlett has tweeted or retweeted from it more than 40 times since Feb. 16, including a retweet of a Channel 2 tweet from December regarding his intention to seek re-election.

Sometimes the mayor just wants Tulsans to know he’s got their backs, as when he retweeted congratulations to the University of Tulsa basketball team after a victory.

Or that he’s helping save the pet population.

Or that he’s done a good deed.

Since launching his campaign Twitter account in July 2009, Bartlett has attracted 2,495 followers, tweeted 2,462 times and is following 1,925 people.

His @MayorBartlett account — which was established in November 2010 — has 995 followers, has tweeted 290 times and is following just two people.

The two accounts have different looks, as one might expect.

@MayorBartlett includes a picture of a younger mayor dressed formally in a suit and tie with a colorless background.

@DeweyBartlett shows the 68-year-old Bartlett looking more relaxed in a blue button-down shirt, backed by the Stars and Stripes.

“These are just another way to engage the public,” Bartlett said. “I’ve worked very hard to have public engagement throughout my time as mayor. This includes town halls, joint meetings with the City Council, and many, many public events.

“I try to find every way I can to communicate to citizens in Tulsa and the use of social media is just another way for that to happen.”

Bartlett said he manages his Twitter accounts with assistance from others.

“For the city account, Lloyd Wright and the Communications department help manage the messages,” Bartlett said. “On my personal account, I often take pictures with (wife) Victoria and together we manage the page. I am also starting to build a team in anticipation of the upcoming race that will help in this regard.”

Bartlett’s only serious announced opponent so far, City Councilor G.T. Bynum, has not created a separate Twitter account for the mayor’s race. (Two perennial candidates, Paul Tay and Lawrence Kirkpatrick, have indicated they will run as well)

Bynum has long been active on Twitter, but since Feb. 16 – when Bartlett’s campaign Twitter account became more active — he has tweeted or retweeted only 10 times.

@gtbynum was established in 2008, has attracted 3,379 followers, tweeted 2,462 times and is following 1,230 people. Bynum, 38, has no picture on his Twitter account. He’s opted for a cartoon caricature of himself done by the Tulsa World’s Bruce Plante.

One of those tweets, posted Feb. 19, directs people to another form of social media both candidates are employing, Facebook. In the tweet, Bynum links users to a campaign video in which he introduces himself and explains what his vision is for the city.

Bynum said Friday that the video has been viewed more than 38,000 times.

“We will use all three social media platforms to communicate with Tulsans,” Bynum said. “Throughout my time on the council, I’ve used social media as a means to better communicate with my constituents. A lot of the ideas I’ve put forward originally came via a contact on social media.”

Many of Bynum’s tweets deal with his work on the City Council, including the long slog that was the Vision 2025 renewal process. It is not unusual for him to tweet as events are unfolding.

He usually responds to tweets quickly, too.

Of the Bynum’s 10 tweets or retweets since Feb. 16, most have been about the city’s Vision Tulsa sales tax proposal. Two are related to his campaign for mayor.

Bynum’s Campaign Manager, Michael Junk, said Bynum’s twitter account won’t focus on the mayor’s race until after the April 5 Vision Tulsa vote.

“Until then, as a city councilor, G.T.’s No. 1 priority is getting Vision passed,” Junk said. “We don’t want to play politics with this.”

Junk acknowledged that Bartlett is doing a good job of using social media to get his name out but insisted that when it comes to the quality of content — especially on the candidates’ websites and Facebook accounts — Bynum’s got him beat.

“Dewey is producing volume or quantity,” Junk said. “Our focus is on quality. They are two completely different strategies.”

What does all this mean for the election? It means that it could be a while before Tulsans see Bartlett and Bynum face off on the same stage, so political junkies looking for campaign news may have no alternative but social media.

For now, it makes no sense for the candidates to come out swinging. It’s early, and they both are hard at work persuading Tulsans to go to the polls April 5 and approve the Vision Tulsa package.

The filing period for municipal elections is not until April 11-13. And if Bartlett and Bynum are the only two candidates for mayor, the election won’t be held until Nov. 8. If there are more than two candidates, a primary would be held in June 28, followed by the November election — unless one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary. That candidate would be Tulsa’s next mayor.

Bynum said the only candidates’ forum he’s been asked to attend with Bartlett is on April 12. Bartlett said he’s unaware of any candidates’ forum before the filing period.

So, in the meantime, ready yourselves for an onslaught of social media campaigning — some subtle, some not.

Here’s links to the candidates’ social media platforms:

Bartlett’s Instagram handle: @mayorbartlett

Bynum’s Instagram handle: @gtbynumfortulsamayor

Dewey Bartlett for Tulsa Mayor Facebook

GT Bynum for Tulsa Mayor Facebook

Bartlett’s 2016 campaign website

Bynum’s 2016 campaign website