*50 Cent wasn’t the only one taking advantage of Twitter during the big East Coast blizzard this week.
While the rapper was busy tweeting pictures of himself shoveling the walks of his Connecticut neighbors (for $100 per house), Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker was using his Twitter page for more altruistic purposes — to assist his overall efforts to dig out the city.
Booker is using the social media service to communicate directly with residents to help get roads cleared and people who are stuck in the snow some assistance.
“I … have a great Twitter feed, residents who are letting me know what’s happening, letting me know if they need help,” Booker told CNN Tuesday evening.
“We’ve gotten diapers to people. Delivered food,” he said. “One pregnant woman who was going into labor — at least thought she was. We were able to get there before the ambulances could. We actually got an ambulance unstuck.”
In a Twitter exchange between the mayor and a Newark resident, one motorist asked for a street to be cleared. Booker tweeted: “If ur stuck DM (direct message) me ur (number),” before sending a crew to dig the motorist out.
Booker also promised to send a road crew to clear streets around a hospital, after someone tweeted that it had not been adequately cleared.
“Sending team immediately back there 2 ensure hospital is clear,” Booker tweeted.
One resident posted a photo on Twitter of a city crew clearing a roadway, and thanked the mayor.
“You are so welcome!” tweeted Booker.
Booker has used Twitter during emergency situations before, Brenna Ehrlich noted on Mashable, a social-media-focused blog, which is a CNN Tech partner.
“During last winter’s blizzard, Booker came to the rescue when Jersey resident Ravie Rave tweeted that her elderly father’s walk was in need of shoveling,” Ehrlich wrote.
“Maybe there’s a lesson in snowflakes,” Booker said from the middle of a snow-packed street. “Individually we’re a little weak, but when we stick together there’s a lot of strength there.”
After laboring throughout the day Tuesday, Booker sent another tweet before heading to bed — saying his work wasn’t done.
“Heading in for night,” he tweeted shortly before 2 a.m. Wednesday. “Plows & Salt trucks will work through the night & into morning. Still much work to do but I’m grateful 4 the progress.”
But not everyone was happy with Cory Booker and his one-on-one presence.
Manhattan blogger “Gothamist” wrote about one particular Newark resident (Twitter name Rookie2Veteran) who felt Booker was talking more than shoveling when the mayor showed up to help dig out his street.
[Mayor Booker] recently announced to Rookie2Veteran “I am here now to help” not an hour after he wrote for help. However, Rookie (T. Bonds) doesn’t think that Booker did a great job, and now the war of words is on.
If T. Bonds wanted Booker’s help he certainly didn’t act like it, writing, “I f*ck around & get arrested if cory booker come here wit a f*ckin shovel,” but said, “#corybooker just called and said he comin thru #pause …he on avon & stratford now…we will see.” Once Booker arrived, Bonds quickly told the rest of the Twitter community that Booker “wasn’t doin nuttin but chit chat…they was shovelin sh*t I shoveled already,” and almost seemed jealous when he wrote, “This n*gga talkin more than he shovel…da mother thinks he’s martin da way she laughin at every joke.” He finally stepped up to the mayor himself, writing, “I did everything before u came…I kno u had to see my path.”
But Booker called him out on his shoveling work, writing, “Wow u shud b ashamed of yourself. U tweet vulgarities & then I come out here to help & its ur mom & sis digging. Where r u?” As if that weren’t enough of a smackdown, Bonds said, “Cory booker really a mayor tho cuz he ratted on me to my moms smh…my mom said ‘TaJuan I’m embarrassed.’” Seriously Bonds, all Booker was trying to do was garner a little good PR after laying off 13% of the police force! We’ll see if the smack talk continues, or if Bonds just got grounded.