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  • Age
    39
  • Title
    Digital director
  • Company
    State of New Jersey

In December 2019, a Twitter user took notice of the official account for the State of New Jersey. “Who let New Jersey have a Twitter?” he asked. New Jersey’s response? “Your mom.”

The tweet now has nearly 500,000 likes, and New Jersey’s account has more followers than any other state.

But Twitter accounts don’t run themselves. Pearl Gabel, the digital director for Gov. Phil Murphy, is the woman behind the avatar. While running New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s video team, Gabel heard the siren song from across the Hudson River and returned to her home state where she found a dismal digital apparatus. She quickly got to work building up all realms of online communication and setting the online tone of the state as sometimes provocative but always full of New Jersey pride.

Now, the state’s widely followed social media presence and well-oiled digital machine is more useful than ever, spreading information about COVID-19 protocols and closures as well as messages about the Black Lives Matter movement. “We are dealing with life and death and choices that affect people everyday,” she says. “The pandemic has shown just how crucial digital communication is to keep people educated and informed and in touch.”