In the realm of local politics , does social media create a stronger link between constituent and representative? In my analysis of Corey Booker use of social media, I can say that it brought Corey Booker closer to his constituents, but I am not entirely sure it brought them closer to him.
In my travelogue, I showed how well Corey Booker broadcast his activities to the citizens of newark. From youtube, to twitter, to facebook, there are so many ways to stay up to date and be inspired by all the hard work that Mayor Booker is putting in to revive the city. But how well can Corey Booker hear his fans? Is that the purpose of the fan page? I contacted the mayors office numerous times regarding these questions but got no reply.
While I did point out in my two previous posts that Booker did respond to certain comments, the response amounted to Booker asking to converse with the individual off of the page. Why is this? This lead me to think that the page is really just a place for people to sing the praises of booker’s work. Again, Im all for positivity as a means to get people excited and involved, but the dialogic potential of social media was missing. It would be wrong to label facebook as a public space in the traditional understanding of the public sphere. As Lauren pointed out in a comment on my last post, facebook is a great way to aggregate opinion, but the comments that the posts illicit are more often than not those that wouldn’t benefit anyone in policy making.
Overall I would say that the introduction of social media into the political realm is a good thing in that it provides another outlet for citizens to be aware of local issues, but for the time being, the potential of social media for garnering useful feedback is being squandered. Maybe the reps just aren’t ready to encourage their constituents to tell them how they feel…