Monday, Mar. 28, 2011

Mike Allen

Followers: 69,000
Sample tweet: "Speaker Boehner sends President Obama a letter with 7 QUESTIONS about Libya - says level of consultation 'regrettable'"

Politico's chief White House correspondent is the Virgil of the beltway, leading the rest of us hapless Dantes through the inferno of America's political universe. Mike Allen is, in fact, best known for his other digital project, Politico's Playbook — a daily e-newsletter of tips and updates that sets the pace for news coverage in the nation's capital — but @mikeallen offers the same authority in 140 characters or less. So when Allen tweets the latest dope, such as a Feb. 28 item about a report from the Times of London on British plans to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, it's safe to assume you'll hear about this story again in some other outlet. Just as on Playbook, which mentions Washington insiders' birthdays, a backslapping campfire collegiality applies in Allen's twitter handle. Unlike nearly everyone of his stature, Allen follows some 30,000 twitter accounts. It's a neighborly welcome to a world many feel they must abandon all hope before entering.

(Disclosure: Mike Allen is a former staff member of TIME.)