Social Advocacy & Politics: Shoveling Snow Via Twitter



After years of billionaire Mayor Bloomberg, New Yorker were treated to their new mayor shoveling his own walkway. Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted a picture of himself shoveling. It wasn’t a selfie, because his hands are both on the shovel. So someone took the picture. And then de Blasio tweeted it.

At least, it was tweeted over the Mayor’s account. I wonder if the person who took the picture actually did the tweeting, too. So we know he shoveled some snow. We saw it on Twitter.

Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, former Newark Mayor Senator Cory Booker was up to his old tricks again, offering to shovel out “seniors & others in the Nwk area.” So while New York finally has a mayor willing to do manual labor again, Newark can’t get rid of their do-gooder mayor coming home again to lend a hand.

Interestingly, de Blasio got more retweets and favorites than Booker with a fraction of the followers, no less…though there are many more people in NYC than Newark. It remains unclear which city appreciates having a mayor who shovels more.

But a politician shoveling is nothing new. Back in 1940, Florida Senator Claude Pepper had to shovel heavy snow to get to his Senate office.

What is new is the contrast between one mayor showing off that he is an ordinary man who shovels as well as anyone and another (former) mayor who shovels FOR anyone. What is also new is that politicians can use Twitter to tell their own stories, rather than hope it is told by the news media.

The stories de Blasio and Booker’s tweets tell are dramatically different from one another. But whether it is the “I’m one of you” or “I’m here for you” story, they both create a deeper connection between the politician telling the story and the people that politician serves.

Social Advocacy & Politics is a weekly, exclusive column for Social Media Today by Alan Rosenblatt that explores the intersection of politics and social media. Look for the next installment next Tuesday morning. 

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