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Why should Cory Booker get to have all the fun?
The Newark, New Jersey mayor-turned-Senate hopeful might be the only politician who will come shovel your driveway if you ask him on Twitter, but he’s far from the only politician making great use of the platform.
Social media can be a tricky game for politicians. Never mind the well-publicised scandals like Anthony Weiner’s bulging tweets and Sarah Palin’s coining the word refudiate; there’s an entire website devoted to cataloging politicians’ deleted tweets, making sure their slips of the finger never leave the internet.
But Twitter has more than 200 million active users who produce more than 400 million tweets a day, according to the platform’s blog. It has the potential to be an amazing resource for politicians looking to interact with constituents, humanize their campaigns, and more directly influence the news cycle.
Lots of politicians turn the reins over to their staff and tweet bland policy updates and press appearances. Some, however, use their 140 characters creatively. We’ve scoured the web and pulled together the 15 most interesting politicians on Twitter.
They’re aggressive, funny, informative, uplifting, and sometimes even cute. You definitely won’t always agree with them, but they’re all making Twitter more interesting, and deserve your follow.
Grassley's Twitter feed is most often the subject of ridicule, as in this Gawker article that compiled 15 occasions on which the Senator tweeted one or two letters without explanation. These gaffes do make for a good laugh, but Grassley's tweets are also unapologetically aggressive and critical, which makes for a more dynamic read than many carefully edited politicians on social media. His unnecessary abbreviations, frequent exclamation points, and unique syntax make him all the more interesting.
The Colorado Congressman loves to jump on the bandwagon for hashtags like #NSALoveSongs and is refreshingly down-to-earth -- he reacted well to making the list of '23 Most Important Combovers Of Congress.' He also appears to have a thing for Capuchin monkeys. The best thing about following Polis is the abundance of quotes, from Calvin Coolidge to Victor Hugo, including some he appears to have come up with himself.
Maybe it's just because we're mentally reading the tweets in a British accent, but the London Mayor's relentlessly cheery tweets and frequent constituent interaction (he regularly hosts #AskBoris Q and A's on everything from the nation's finances to his favourite type of cake) easily earned him a spot on this list.
Senator McCaskill is a regular on lists of social media-savvy politicians, and with good reason. She has 93,206 followers and follows a total of zero, which is technically fewer than the ultra-exclusive Pope Francis. The 59-year-old Senator was one of the first in the social media game and combines information about goings-on in the Senate with personal updates, including her weight loss efforts and pictures of her grandkids.
Chris Christie may seek the Republican nomination for president in 2016. He's very popular nationally even though he has a love-hate relationship with conservatives and has managed to develop a long list of enemies on the right and left. He definitely doesn't seem fazed on Twitter: his feed is uncompromising and full of New Jersey pride. It's a good idea to keep up with this outspoken politician who could make a run for the presidency very soon.
The Connecticut Congressman cracks plenty of jokes and makes for an entertaining follow, but he's also serious about his job. His feed is approachable and amusing while still being politically informative. He's not afraid to make fun of himself or embarrassed to still get excited when seeing the POTUS in person.
Danbury isn't the most glamorous city in the U.S., but its Mayor is a great source of hilarity, both intentional and unintentional, on Twitter. In June, Mayor Boughton live-tweeted a bear rescue from a Danbury tree, but it's his day-to-day hashtag use, attempts at youthful slang, and random musings that are the true gems of his feed.
Former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is an active Twitter user and a sceptic when it comes to big government. His feed is a great place for news, as well as information on a cause near to Johnson's heart: marijuana legalization.
The leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance engages directly with constituents on Twitter, whether they support or oppose her party. Whatever slings she endures on Twitter are likely preferable to the actual matter that was thrown at her bus in June, as part of an ongoing dispute over providing toilets in poor, crowded areas of the province she governs.
Governor Jindal has gotten a lot of negative press lately, especially after a Politico op-ed that basically encouraged the Republican party to stop trying to be responsive to the American majority and wait for a revolt against 'the nanny state.' That doesn't make his Twitter any less brash or interesting to follow.
Twitter can be a pleasant place if you're following New York Congressman Steve Israel, who populates his feed with a healthy dose of humility and cute pictures. He makes great use of Twitpics, both political and personal, and debates the pros and cons of reality TV.
Congressman Steve Stockman can be mean. But that doesn't mean his tweets aren't interesting to read. The long-time Texas politician pulls no punches, especially when it comes to President Barack Obama. He's a vocal critic of the 'SNAP Challenge' popular amongst some Democratic politicians. His Twitter bio anticipates that people might find him offensive and directs complainers to contact one of his staffers.
Jerry Brown really loves his state, and he's gotten that love back. The governor has well over a million twitter followers, despite only following 54. His feed is uplifting and interesting, and not just for California residents.
Roskam is the Chief Deputy Whip and an active Twitter user. Don't expect much personal information on his feed, but definitely follow if you're looking for frequent updates and information from the Congressional GOP.
Tennessee's first Jewish congressman knows how to pack a lot into a tweet. He's an enthusiastic hashtag user and avid fan of the Memphis Grizzlies, and his feed mixes endearing personal musings with attempts at political metaphors, sometimes with mixed results. He made news earlier this year when he sent, and then quickly deleted, Tweets saying 'ilu'--'I love you'--to a young Tennessee woman. It later emerged that the woman is his daughter.
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