(WASHINGTON) — Three months after the Washington Post declared that senators ruined selfies for everyone, Cory Booker is bringing selfies back.
The New Jersey senator’s latest online crusade: snapping a selfie with every single one of his Senate colleagues, 99 in total. The campaign started early last month with a shot Booker took with Sen. Angus King, I-Maine.
“The First in my 99 part Instagram series: Selfies With Fellow Senators. Here with Angus King of Maine. A true gentleman and valued source of wisdom for me in the Senate,” Booker wrote.
Last week, he convinced his unlikely ally, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to take a selfie with him — in the middle of a media appearance nonetheless.
“10th in my 99 part Instagram series: Selfies With My Fellow Senators. Here with Rand Paul of Kentucky. Across party lines Senator Paul and I have found common ground around the urgent need to reform our criminal justice system and address the anguished and expensive reality of mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders in the USA. We also bonded over our respect for the holiday of Festivus (Senator Paul has a long list of grievances). #BipartisanshipARealAndNeededFeatOfStrenght,” Booker wrote.
And it’s not just his Senate colleagues he wants to corral into self-taken photos. Booker seems to be on a mission to rival Ellen DeGeneres’ epic selfie at this year’s Academy Awards, stretching out his long arms to cram in as many people into one photo at a time — whether it’s taking his summer interns to watch Planet of the Apes or hanging out with kids at a middle school.
Using social media to connect with people isn’t new for Booker. The 45-year-old started his social media habit as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, where he used Twitter to connect with constituents, often encouraging them to send him direct messages with their problems. And Booker has used Twitter to forge personal relationships in the Senate. His partnership with Paul started after the two bonded on Twitter over Festivus, a made-up holiday popularized by Seinfeld.
Booker has found a way to chronicle the ins and outs of being a senator in a way that wasn’t possible before the age of social media — from attending meetings at the White House to having strangers take pictures of you to providing a glimpse at what it takes to get the perfect shot.
Judging by his massive following, Booker’s social media outreach seems to be working. Booker has 38,000 followers on Instagram and 1.47 million on Twitter, a whopping one million more than his friend Paul, whose Twitter account following ballooned after a filibuster last year but pales in comparison to Booker’s.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Sara Murray, CNN
Robert Pattern, EastIdahoNews.com
Laura Koran, Dan Merica and Tom LoBianco, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN