Friday, October 2, 2009

Tweets and Twits

Posted By on Fri, Oct 2, 2009 at 1:24 PM

I'm following all the mayoral candidates who Twitter. How they use this relatively new social medium is revealing and, in my opinion, offers some insights into the kind of mayor they might be.

AC Wharton (1161 followers) is a businesslike Twitterer, announcing his appearances, thanking supporters, etc. Many of the tweets are done by staff. All words are spelled correctly with proper punctuation. Like so: "Looking forward to taking part in the Rotary Debate on Tuesday, 10/6." Wharton uses Twitter as an efficient — but dull — tool.

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Charles Carpenter's Tweets (350 followers) are minimalist as well, but not as frequent as Wharton's. Carpenter also eschews "text-speak", shortened spellings, etc. Not much personality is revealed. Ditto Carol Chumney, (118 followers) who is an infrequent and boring Twitterer.

Myron Lowery (390 followers) uses Twitter similarly to Wharton, but links frequently to favorable media articles. While his Tweets aren't exactly personable, one gets the sense that Myron does his own Tweets, a la: "CNN has published my views on the fist bump with the Dalai Lama. http://bit.ly/DHuch"

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Jerry Lawler (6,146 followers, more than any candidate, though how many are mayoral followers and how many are wrestling fans is open to debate) definitely does his own tweets, using shortened words, etc. There are occasional typos, squeezed tweets — the mark of a man doing his own writing on the run, and on impulse at times: "Signed the @midsouthpeace pledge today to never forget & abandonen the homeless of Memphis. Help me fulfill my pledge with your vote!"

Then we get to the Boss of Twitter among the candidates: Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr. (304 followers) Whalum is a BIG FAN of all-caps, exclamation points, and text-speak. He is by far the most entertaining of the legitimate candidates. He presents himself as a RENEGADE who's leading the campaign for a MEMPHIS MIRACLE! He's a prolific Twitter user. He's also thin-skinned and prone to arguing with and blocking those who disagree with him. Whalum (or as I like to call him, WHALUM!!!) likes to complain about the media's biased coverage and being left out of Channel 3's debate. He exhorts his 300 or so followers with inspirational Biblical quotes and compares himself to Moses, Gideon, Maya Angelou, and other notables. Whalum would be a volatile but entertaining mayor, if his Tweets are any indication. He's sometimes witty, but more often over-the-top, and borderline manic. You can't ignore him. Definitely a hands-on kind of guy.

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Here are a few samples of the wit and wisdom of WHALUM!!:
"A majority of Israelites polled thought they'd starve to death in the wilderness. Then it started raining quail."

""Rumble young Man, RUMBLE!" BTW, I'd wear the "frontrunner OUT in a REAL debate!"

"MAN I'm upsetting some status quo folks today! To paraphrase Maya Angelou: "Don't let my haughtiness offend you." It's called INDEPENDENCE"

Like I said, FUN!

But the MOST fun is pseudo-Twitter candidate FakeMongo, imitator of candidate Prince Mongo (228 followers). After Lowery's ill-advised fist-bump with the Dalai Lama, FakeMongo tweeted: "If I met the Lama, I wouldn't greet him with crude gestures. I'd do the honorable thing and extend him the Zambodian penis of friendship."

That's only one example of the twisted madness of this anonymous wit. I don't know who he is. I'm not sure I even want to know. (Yes, I do.) But you have to admire the man's comic genius. I just hope he hangs around after the election. A few more examples:

"Says here in the city bylaws the mayor has to wear a shirt at all public events where booze is served. Checkmate, Mr. Lawler."

"Show me on the doll where the mayor touched you, Mr. Lama."

"Enjoying some flash-frozen gamma locust with Severed Head of Charles Carpenter. Wish we had some honey mustard for dipping!"

Gotta love this guy. I almost wish I could vote for him.

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