Back in October, Clark Kent made a bold move in the name of standing up for truth, justice and not being a shill for a corrupt establishment. He quit his job at The Daily Planet to become a blogger.
It was a cute update to the Superman story, but it already felt a little dated. Blogging has been around for awhile. It is the establishment. Plus, it’s starting to feel like there’s a new Superman in town. A real one. And he doesn’t blog. He Tweets.
I’m referring, of course, to Cory Booker, the telegenic Mayor of Newark whose many feats include saving women from burning buildings and rescuing stray dogs from frigid temperatures…and who also seemingly responds to every single Tweet his 1,358,089 (and counting) followers send his way.
A typical post on his Twitter feed looks something like this:
Which would be gratifying enough. The 21st century equivalent of recently deceased NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s “How’m’I doin’?” Wouldn’t it be refreshing if every city official took such a personal approach?
But Booker often takes it a step further: DM’ing his cell phone number to a Newark resident who Tweeted about a sewage backup; stringing riddles from local school kids across multiple Tweets; and making a point to express thanks for every compliment, and acknowledge every thanks.
And while he may not be able to save the world, he doesn’t restrict his replies to his constituents. To a follower from Ireland who Tweeted (in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy) a request that the mayor fix the potholes outside his Dublin home, the Mayor responded, “Sir, I’ve got 99 problems & your ditch ain’t one.”
His “on it” social media persona has become so legendary that last week there even debuted the faux Twitter account @LazyMayorBooker, wherein a cantankerous doppelmayor vents his frustration at having to be the first responder to every crisis in town. Winter Storm Nemo found @LMB holing up for the weekend with Hot Pockets and Netflix and sending out 140-character states-of-the-city such as “Have you gotten food yet? If not, get it soon. Because I’m not bringing it to you later. Fair warning.”
Of course, the real Cory Booker would have delivered the groceries and then Tweeted about it. As mayor of a town that has a violent crime rate three times higher than the national average, in a state which has had some famously corrupt politicians (Booker’s predecessor served 18 months in prison for fraud) and has been battered by the rough economy and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, his administration has some real municipal challenges. And yet he always makes social media a priority.
Is it because he genuinely wants to connect? It certainly feels that way. Is it also part of his political strategy? Of course it is. What’s more, it’s working. By commandeering Twitter to be an all-Cory, all-the-time, social media channel, this rising star politician has kept his message in front of the voters in his city…and everyone else. And it hasn’t cost a cent.