“The Agenda Setting Function of the Mass Media” written by Donald Shaw and Maxwell E. McCombs is testing the plausibility that mass media ultimately force our attention to certain issues—not necessarily telling us what to think, but what to think about as stated in their research. If this is true, then politicians like Cory Booker need to rethink their marketing strategies in both traditional news outlets especially on social media.
For starters, he has two Twitter accounts. Both are verified, but one is @SenBooker, managed by staff and the other is @CoryBooker. Many times Booker can be seen retweeting himself, which doesn’t allow for much participation in the twitter conversations that are often dictated by the mass media. For example, right now mass media has set the agenda around the #MeToo movement/sexual assault, DACA, and the economy (just to name a few).
In America, we swear an allegiance to the Constitution, not the person in the Oval Office. No one is above the law. #NunesMemo
— Sen. Cory Booker (@SenBooker) February 2, 2018
In this tweet, he is on brand with mass media, addressing the Nunes memos which has definitely been part of the agenda.
You don’t Make America Great Again by oppressing minorities, protecting corporations, fighting perpetual war, ignoring education and denying science. Learn empathy. Stop scapegoating the poor and immigrants for your problems, be part of these great United States #WednesdayWisdom
— ♻️ Christopher Zullo (@ChrisJZullo) February 7, 2018
Others are missed opportunities to engage in important conversations. For example, DACA has been a major topic in the news. In the tweet above, he retweets someone addressing DACA, but does so on his personal Twitter rather than on @SenBooker where voters are most likely looking to engage with him.
Especially when compared to other politicians, like Senator Elizabeth Warren who not only engages in conversations within the media’s agenda, like DACA, but Tweets out media rich content, which creates even more traction around the conversation.
Watch Valeria’s story and you’ll see – Dreamers are woven into the fabric of our country. They’re students, doctors, nurses, firefighters. And they belong here. #DreamActNow pic.twitter.com/RrdISyI9Ga
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 7, 2018
Overall, it’s important for Booker and other politicians to realize, they aren’t in control of the agenda, but if they want to be recognized for being a part of the conversation—it’s up to them to join in and Twitter is a great place to do that.