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Cory Booker on Twitter and the Future of Constituency Service

by Jane Susskind, published

Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker has made a name for himself in the political realm for being a prime example of how to use Twitter as a politician. He is in constant communication with his constituents, using the social network as a means to govern.

By engaging with his over 1.3 million followers on Twitter daily, he knows what issues are important to the people of Newark and what issues have yet to be resolved.

His focus on issues and ideas, as opposed to politics and parties, was made evident in his South by Southwest (SXSW) debut. Speaking at the SXSW Interactive conference, he referred to social media as "a tool in a toolbox of connecting to people, serving people." Share on Twitter: Tweet

In an interview with TechCrunch following his speech, he further alluded to the power of social media in giving rise to an independent voice:

"We are aligned, I think, wrong. We are aligned by party…what I found on the local level, when I don't talk to people in party terms but I talk to them about problem solving terms, that we can find a lot more accord. As I imagine a citizenry that becomes far more interested in problem solving than parties," he said. Tweet quote: Tweet

Our current political makeup ensures that independent-minded voters and candidates are disenfranchised, overwhelmed and outspent by those who have the most to gain from the continuance of the two-party system: Democrats and Republicans.

In the world of Twitter, everyone has a megaphone, leaving messages unfiltered.

By now, it's no secret that partisan rhetoric hinders elected officials. Mayor Cory Booker, on Twitter, aims to break down the barriers to problem solving by direct engagement with his constituents, a practice he believes could enhance democracy if utilized by politicians in Washington.

His reasoning is two fold:

A highly engaged citizenry leaves little room for special interests to dominate the political dialogue. Social media allows lawmakers to close the gap that distances leaders in Washington from citizens at home. In an attempt to reform the "you vote, I rule," mentality, Booker calls social media an invaluable tool in promoting the type of democratic fervor that keeps special interests in check. Eliminating a step in the communication process, social media ensures that politicians, if active, can know about issues as they happen. Removing the middleman not only creates efficiency, but increases accountability among politicians.

"We are reflexively partisan now, and we've got to start breaking through that and getting back to ideas and getting people motivated around those things," Mayor Booker warned in his TechCrunch interview. Tweet quote: Tweet

With controversial issues like gun control, balancing the budget, and electoral reform at the forefront of the national dialogue, disagreement and inaction plague lawmakers in Washington.

One thing Americans can agree on, however, is that . When asked whether American politics in recent years has become more divided, less divided, or is about the same,

76 percent believe there is more division.

In an attempt to get back to the issues, not the divisive party politics, Cory Booker believes social media is pivotal in the advancement of the nation.

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