I’ve been watching Newark’s mayor Cory Booker via social media for several years. He first came to my attention on Twitter during the blizzard of 2010, also known as “Snowpocalypse“. He was actively tweeting around the clock, helping direct emergency traffic by communicating with his constituents one-to-one, answering their concerns. At first, I thought his staff was posting but by following him over several weeks, I realized it was simply Mayor Booker, tweeting all the time.
Since he rose to fame by answering calls to dig people out of snow drifts, helping seniors as they ran out of medication, fire breakouts in the city, and where the power was out, he didn’t cease the online activity when the snow stopped falling. Booker has never let up and answers questions on how to find work in his city, deals with negative comments with grace and humor, and even talks about his personal life. I’ve never seen a politician take to social media the way he has. Now that he’s running for Senate, he doesn’t plan on stopping. (See the Instagram video where he talks about it.)
I spoke at iima4gov in Sacramento a few years ago and mentioned him, forgetting that he was probably well known in the capital. Those in politics actually have a name for it, the “Cory Booker effect”.
I bring this up because if he can do it, so can all the rest out there. In fact, if they don’t, they will get left behind. Constituents want to “meet” their candidates and “know” who they really are.
Wake up, politicians. Your voters want to meet you.