Below is an unedited transcript of the video interview I conducted with Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ, in April.
Paul Smalera: Earlier today I had a great conversation with Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. Let's have a look. Mayor Booker, thank you so much for being here with me.
Cory Booker: It's great to be here with a Jersey boy. A fellow Jersey boy.
Smalera: I wanted to ask you first of all, you have this reputation as the social media mayor, the tweeting mayor. What made you get onto Twitter in the first place?
Booker: It happened in 2009 where now co-founder with me of WayWire but really an extraordinary visionary woman who saw social media and was a social media maven before...she actually thought up the idea of a Twitter race to the top between Ashton Kutcher and CNN. For some reason she felt the platform would benefit from having indigenous, grassroots authentic leadership on it not just a place for triviality or celebrity but really a mission driven platform and to get more people like that on the platform would be better. She had seen a lot of the other things I was doing in Newark and finally decided to reach out to me. It was a great conversation but I really felt was too busy. I still didn't understand the concept at all. She pulled a powerful persuader out on me which was Ashton Kutcher. I had this surreal moment where I thought my staff was punking me because Ashton Kutcher's calling city hall in Newark? I can't believe that.
I remember I was travelling back to my law school and this drive up highway 95 talking to him, he spent must have been 45 minutes on the phone, really challenging me and explaining to me the benefits of taking control of your own media, of connecting with thousands of people and said, "Look, I want you to do it but I don't just want you to do it. I want you to dive in head first and be authentic on the platform, take risks.' He counseled me to it and I said, "I'm going to give this a three month trial.' And by month two I was completely sold and amazed. What really sold me was a veteran's issue. I was greeting the largest deployment of New Jersey National Guard since World War II was coming back from the Middle East and I was tweeting back and forth about issues. A guy in California, very frustrated veteran, tweeted me, angry, frustrated, wasn't getting support. We have a veteran's one stop in city hall, the first of its type in New Jersey, and I just connected him with the people. Before you know it, he's tweeting out that he got help, got housing. It was just an incredible moment and it took me seconds on my Blackberry.