Mayor Booker’s Food-Stamp Challenge Takes Social Media to a New Level

Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J. (pictured) is living on food
stamps for a week to help get the word out for the necessity
of social programs. 

For PR professionals looking for inspiration on how their clients or senior managers can take better advantage of social channels—and send a message to their constituents about a cause they care about—you might want to check out what Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is up to this week.

Starting Dec. 4 and continuing through Dec. 12, Booker will eat only what he can buy with $29.78, slightly more than the weekly allotment of $28 that individuals on food stamps tend to spend on average. That’s according to ABC News.

Mayor Booker is living on food stamps for a week to drum up interest on the necessity of social programs, such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

Booker has pledged to document his experience living on the food budget of the average individual receiving SNAP benefits on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the video-hosting site he co-founded, WayWire, ABC News said.

Booker’s actions are in stark contrast to many corporate managers who, often to the chagrin of PR professionals, refuse to harness social networks to get the word out about their products, services or organizations they support.

Regardless of the politics involved, Booker’s challenge helps to personalize a problem that millions of Americans grapple with on a daily basis. The effort reminds us that, even amid a social media age, there are still too many brands that remain faceless in the eyes of consumers (and potential customers).

But they don’t have to be, and we wonder about the long-term viability of C-level execs who continue to pooh-pooh social media rather than, like Mayor Booker, take a proactive approach to reaching their marketplace via social networks.

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