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UW Election Eye 2012

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Topic: Cory Booker

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May 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Newark Mayor Cory Booker puts Twitter to work

Newark Mayor Cory Booker shows that Twitter can be used for politicians for more than just campaigning —  it can be a tool to fulfill mayoral job duties and connect with their constituency. With the abrupt departure today of  Booker’s communications director, the Newark mayor’s facility with his social media channels will be put to the test.

Since 2008, social media has remained a focus in politics. Four years ago, President Barack Obama proved that its power could be harnessed successfully in campaigning. Following that election, many politicians jumped onto Twitter to share their thoughts and connect with voters, with varying degrees of strategy and success.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is known for his prolific use of social media, using it in a way that could change governing in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of City of Newark Government.)

Newark Mayor Cory Booker is known for his prolific use of social media, using it in a way that could change governing in the U.S. (Photo courtesy of City of Newark Government.)

But the potential of social media goes far beyond just campaigning, town halls, and chats using hashtags. Case in point: Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

With well over 1 million followers and more than 15,000 tweets under his belt, Booker is a tweeting fiend. In the last seven hours, Booker has tweeted about veterans and homelessness, affordable housing, and quoted Harriet Tubman — to name just three.

You may recognize Booker’s name from when he rescued a woman from a burning building, or perhaps you have watched one of his videos posted to YouTube.  More likely, you may have seen some of the fallout from his appearance on Meet the Press just over a week ago.

Twitter isn’t a magic wand: Booker’s communications director, Anna Torres, announced her resignation today, which many believe was influenced by the the mayor’s Meet the Press comments and the damage control. But while Twitter cannot be expected to perform perfect spin, it can be a useful tool for reaching the voting public.

For years, politicians at all levels have had to interact with and respond to requests by their constituents, usually in person or by mail (electronic or paper). Twitter might just offer a real time option for  Twitter users to contact their representatives at the state, regional, and national level.

I decided to follow Booker on Twitter to see if he held up to his reputation.

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