by Dan Gibson
Referencing Jay-Z (or somewhat less likely, crossing coasts to reference Ice-T circa 1993) while dismissing a somewhat petty request from a constituent? Mayoral gold.
Not that Bob Walkup was ever going to "get" Twitter (his feed serves largely as a feed of mildly interesting announcements), but if you want to know the big difference between a politician who is trying to embrace social media as a method of connecting to constituents and the guy who set up a Twitter account because he was told he was supposed to at a mayor convention somewhere*, it's all in the number of people each mayor is following. Walkup isn't following anyone and doesn't seem to ever reply to anyone who mentions him. Booker is following 56,577 feeds and replies to seemingly everyone who has anything to say about Newark.
[* Pure speculation here.]
It's a little difficult to say what value Newark gets from their mayor's social media activity, but it does add to two perceptions. One, that the city itself is accessible. If someone has an issue, whether it's a pothole or the results of a snowstorm, they might not know where to turn within the city bureaucracy, but they can get in touch with Booker. Two, despite the challenging perception of Newark (and even, sometimes, New Jersey as a whole), at least it seems like Booker's trying and he has some connection to the 21st century. That sort of "with-it-ness" would be a nice touch around here sometimes.