Sen. Jay Rockefeller follows a slew of sports teams. Rep. Peter DeFazio follows home brewing experts. Rep. Eric Cantor follows NASCAR drivers.
Twitter, of course, is a place where personal and professional interests collide.
“Social media’s a really powerful way to articulate who you are,” said Nikki Usher, assistant professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at GW. “It’s a very public statement of the things that we care about.”
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), 76, follows a few dozen sports accounts, which include the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves and the New England Patriots.
The senator’s love of sports began when he was seven-years-old. He and his younger sister started listening to baseball games on the radio.
“If the ball was hit, somebody would smack a pencil against the thing and then the crowd noise was pre-recorded,” Rockefeller recalled to The Hill.
“We developed deep roots into baseball and then it just kept on growing from there,” he added.
Rockefeller’s favorite sport is still baseball. He used to root for the New York Giants (the franchise moved to San Francisco in the ’50s), and now roots for the Braves.
DeFazio (D-Ore.), who follows a handful of craft beer gurus and companies, has been home brewing for more than 20 years.
“It’s kind of meditative because it’s very exacting,” said DeFazio, who brews hoppy ale on the back deck of his home in Oregon. “It’s a nice distraction from what I do for a job.”
The congressman’s favorite place to drink a good brew?
“Any warm summer evening outside enjoying an ice-cold IPA is fabulous. I have a cabin in central Oregon on a little river and probably sitting there watching the river go by with a cold beer on a hot summer afternoon is my favorite place.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) follows food writers like Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan, as well as other sources of food news.
Pingree, who has worked on food policy in Washington, calls herself a “foodie who digs in a little deeper.”
At home, Pingree owns a restaurant and organic farm. The farm provides fresh vegetables and meat — including pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, and turkey — for the restaurant as well as her own culinary endeavors.
“I love cooking everything from roast to vegetarian stir-fries, so, I’m a pretty versatile cook,” Pingree said.
“I’m very good at breakfast,” added the congresswoman, citing bacon, eggs and corned beef hash.
Some lawmakers choose who they follow; others leave it to their staffers. Some members are selective, while others follow those who follow them.
Nevertheless, below are a few finds that stood out:
- Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) follows Reficul, a libertarian metal band from Olympia, Washington.
- Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) follows an assortment of famed entertainers such as comedian Aziz Ansari and rapper Sean Combs (also known as Puff Daddy or P. Diddy).
- Cantor (R-Va.), the House majority leader, follows NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.
- Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) follows “30 Rock,” and has listed “30 Rock fan” in his account description.
- Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) follows Wilmer Valderrama, the actor who played Fez in the hit sitcom, “That ‘70s Show.”
- Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) follows an account titled “Girls HBO Quotes.”
However, Manchin said he was unaware of this pick. It must have been the doing of his “illustrious staff,” he told The Hill.