How Washington Changed @CoryBooker

The tweeting mayor has changed his habits since becoming a Senator on Oct. 31. A TIME analysis reveals a politician who is sleeping more but posting more too

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When Cory Booker went to Washington he promised, like many before him, that he wouldn’t let the city change him. Two weeks later, judging by the most reliable measure of Booker’s behavior–his Twitter feed–it’s quite clear it already has.

As mayor of Newark, Booker could be relied upon for a tireless output of optimism on Twitter, often with a side of grave earnestness. A TIME analysis of his final 2,500 tweets as mayor, going to July 6, 2013, turned up tweets from every hour of the day, including one from 3:15 AM on Oct. 26 that advised, “No matter how impossible they seem, believe in the genius of your dreams.” (It was retweeted 250 times). Booker tweeted primarily from his BlackBerry or the web, but would also frequently weigh in from his iPhone or repost content from Instagram. About 25 percent of his tweets were directed at other users, and 14 percent were retweets.

Since his first tweet as a U.S. Senator on Oct. 31–“‘Its not titles that honor men but men that honor titles’…”–Booker has posted to the service 646 times and counting. The retweeting is largely gone–only 7 since his swearing in–while his replies are up to 36 percent of all tweets. (To be fair, he has about 30 times as many constituents as a senator than he did as mayor, and a lot of them need something.) His iPhone appears to have been confiscated, he never posts from Instagram, and he has been silent in the raw hours of the night.

Not counting replies and retweets, he is still a far more prolific tweeter as a Senator, averaging 22 tweets a day compared to 13 a day as mayor.

The following chart organizes Bookers tweets by hour of the day. You can toggle between Cory Booker the mayor and Cory Booker the senator to compare his behavior. Click a bar to see the tweets themselves. Washington may or may not have changed Cory Booker, but it has unquestionably changed @CoryBooker.


Booker’s feed was downloaded and analyzed using the Twitter API, which cuts off access after a person’s 3,200 most-recent tweets.