United States Senator Cory Booker made several comments about potentially crazy football star Richard Sherman, all of the 140 character variety. Yes, the senator who seems to tweet about everything, tweets about football too.
I started following Senator Booker early in his Senate campaign last year, but I developed my offline infatuation with then-less-famous Newark mayor years before. My child hometown was only a few train stops away from Newark, close enough that I sometimes got to see Booker at political events. When he stopped by my synagogue to make a speech, I couldn't help but notice the adults' reactions.
"That man will be president one day," an older woman gushed after hearing him speak. This was a common reaction.
Mayor Booker already knew how to ingratiate himself to every group, no matter how removed he might seem on paper. "That mayor is not Jewish," my father said. "But he was president of a Jewish club at Oxford." It was enough for my childish self to claim Booker as my own.
When he announced his senate campaign last year, I clicked follow. I always supported his politics, but I was attracted to his fame too. As Newark's mayor, Booker had made a name for himself pulling awesome political stunts: getting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to donate $100 million to Newark's troubled school district, carrying his neighbor out of a burning building, and living on a food stamps budget for a bit.
Booker's Twitter did not disappoint. There was a mild scandal when he tweeted at a stripper, but mostly he just wrote constantly and interacted with absolutely everybody. He was the most ubiquitous tweeter I'd ever followed. If I hadn't known better, I would have said he spent all day on Twitter, answering all his constituents (occasionally inane) tweets. His social media skills began to drive me crazy. I took the screenshot below in June when literally every other tweet in my feed was his:
Irritated by the extreme overshare and monopolization on my feed, I tweeted him the picture. When I didn't get an answer, I hit unfollow for the first time. If he wouldn't interact with me, I thought, I didn't want him filling up my whole feed interacting with everybody else. And unlike many of his followers from other states, I actually lived in New Jersey and would be voting for him! Okay, I was a little bit jealous, but the sheer number of tweets was overpowering.
I didn't last very long. His Twitter was just too entertaining. What if he tweeted at another stripper? Finally revealed his sexual identity? Said something about New Jersey I wouldn't want to miss. Refollow. Unfollow. Refollow. As I watched him answer question after question, I sent him some questions too. I am probably not the only one who feels this way, but I think he interacts with every American voter but me. He seems to answer questions on everything. During this season's first snow storm, he used Twitter to ask if any elderly people needed help shoveling out their homes. And he came to their homes with a shovel.
A few weeks ago, a high school student tweeted at Booker asking if he would answer a few questions about politics. The senator offered to call him, and if Twitter is any indication, the call happened. Lucky kid.
But seriously, who does that? How often do you get a tweet and respond with a phone call? The senator's social media strategy is out of an otherworldly playbook.
Booker's last few tweets are about Richard Sherman's much-televised rant. A constituent wanted to know the senator's opinion on it, and Booker gave it. I read the feed avidly considering I don't watch football; I care very little about the rant and even less about Booker's opinion of it. Still, I keep reading. As I scroll down, I see photos of the senator at various obvious photo opportunities. Boring. Much of the content isn't interesting at all. The fascinating part is the possibility of that elusive interaction, the possibility that the famous senator might briefly acknowledge my existence and Twitter feed. Until he ignores me one time too many, and I hit the unfollow button again.
Mr. Senator, will you tweet out this article?