For public figures, Twitter can be a maelstrom of relentless criticism. But US Senator Cory Booker systematically defuses such attacks by engaging with kindness.
On Feb. 12, he responded to a crass tweet about people suffering from the expiration of unemployment benefits and a stormy winter:
Booker doesn’t shy away from an extreme statement but he doesn’t start a Twitter fight either. He simply highlights the absurdity of the remark in a respectful way, and reinforces his position suggesting that everyone deserves to be heard.
And you can be sure that everyone is watching. Booker’s tweet and his advocacy for extending benefits were so well received that his kind words were photoshopped onto a candy heart:
This strategy is one that Booker has used before to respond to critics before:
When constituents express concern over policy, Booker continues to engage:
There’s a tendency toward caution among public figures on social media because gaffes can be costly. Booker’s approach seems risky, but he’s figured out an excellent way to defuse criticism before it snowballs.
Though, if he overuses the tactic it might start to get old or seem disingenuous. And part of the reason it works is that Booker has spent a long time building this public persona.
We leave you with some more words of extreme kindness from the Senator:
We reached out to Booker’s office about the tweets, but didn’t get a response. Maybe we were too nice.