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March 13, 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker Called 'Twitter Visionary' by the Media

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Cory Booker is known for many things. He is a two-term mayor of Newark, NJ, a former Rhodes Scholar, former college football star, got respect for bravely running into a burning building to save a woman – and is a likely contender for national elected office.

Booker has gotten the respect of the establishment as well; he’ll be this year's Class Day speaker at Yale University. Past Class Day speakers have included President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actor Tom Hanks and CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.)

He is also a folk hero, TMCnet said, given his interaction with the community.

But he is also is very comfortable with social media, constantly Tweeting, and has some theories about how the public sector should use micro-blogging sites and other social media.

"It's (the federal government) just using it as an announcement system, like you used to listen to in class: ‘The cafeteria will be serving roast beef, and I will be at this place or that place'," Booker said in an interview with Reuters after an appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (a conference of culture trends and emerging technology) in Austin, Texas.

"But that's not interaction, that's not collaboration."

He knows how to use Twitter (News - Alert), with over 1.3 million followers. Among them are his neighbors, who lost electricity during Hurricane Sandy and were invited into his home. Booker also used Twitter during a recent blizzard to locate residents who were trapped by the snow, or found them at home so he could shovel their driveways/walkways or bring them diapers, according to news reports.

His tweets include phone numbers for city services, quotes, and comments about Star Trek. Booker also has been using Twitter for an expected 2014 U.S. Senate run, according to a report from the Newark Star Ledger

Booker has obviously gotten heavy attention in the social media sector, capturing a $100-million donation to the Newark public schools from Facebook (News - Alert) founder Mark Zuckerberg.

His use of Twitter has led Booker to be described by The New York Times as a “Twitter Visionary.” Twitter, Booker says, lets him be a more responsive mayor. “I will find out before anybody in my government when a light is out, when a pothole is there,” he explained at the recent festival. “I can now show up with a space heater and blankets. I can now take a level of action I couldn’t before.”



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