I have opinions on many things, but I do not tweet them.
If I must share, I voice the cream of the crop to Cheryl. I stay silent about the rest lest people begin to look at me strangely.
Yet here I am writing a column about Twitter, a distant also-ran to Facebook when it comes to absorbing my idle moments. If Twitter were a planet, it would be my Pluto. Facebook would be my Earth.
What prompts me is our president. Trump and his tweets have hijacked the national conversation on just about everything.
Biting the bullet, I began following @realDonaldTrump last week. I am now among his 35.6 million followers.
My first Trump tweet hit me in the gut. “Fake News Media is out of control,” Trump blasted.
No, no, no, I thought. YOU are out of control.
Then I calmed down. It’s only a tweet, I thought. I’m a big boy. If the president of the United States wants to attack the Napa Valley Register, so be it.
Then I got to wondering. If Trump can command national media with a steady barrage of micro messages, then what are our local politicians doing with Twitter?
Are our council members, our local supervisors, our legislators in Sacramento also going a little nutso?
First I checked out the Napa City Council. But for Juliana Inman and Doris Gentry, I didn’t find much going on.
Peter Mott doesn’t have a Twitter account. Scott Sedgley hasn’t tweeted since June, 2012. Mayor Techel last tweeted in December 2014.
Inman is the council’s Twitter champ, with over 6,000 tweets and more than 1,000 followers. Gentry, who only took office last winter, is approaching 2,000 tweets, with 120 followers.
Some Gentry tweets are little poems to Napa. “love Napa we got it going” she wrote while at a Tony Orlando concert. Before a council meeting she tweeted, “let your voice be heard!”
Inman tweets her whereabouts, thoughts about Robert E. Lee (“a vicious slave owner and rebel”) and also retweets news items, many with an anti-Trump theme.
The members of the Board of Supervisors are Twitter lightweights. Belia Ramos, 13 tweets since December; Alfredo Pedroza, 206 tweets over five years; Diane Dillon, 755 tweets in eight years; Ryan Gregory, 12 tweets since 2015; Brad Wagenknecht, one tweet on Aug. 1, 2013.
None of them tweets nasty. Most of it is deadly boring. Lots of shout-outs to people, events, organizations. Dillon often weighs in on pending legislation in Sacramento.
Our state reps, Assemblywoman Cecelia Aguiar-Curry and Senator Bill Dodd, post photos from “cap and trade” ceremonies, community fairs, appearances before Yolo County Realtors, tours of Fenway Park. After the violence in Charlottesville, both condemned white supremacists.
To find some sharper-edged political tweets from a local pol, you have to follow @RepThompson, who has nearly 18,000 followers, with 2,814 tweets since 2011.
A week ago he tweeted that he favored censuring President Trump for an “inappropriate and offensive” response to Charlottesville. That same day he also tweeted a shout-out to a car show that he’d attended.
That’s Twitter for you. Happy tweets, angry tweets. Little moments frozen in time.
I called several of our local politicos to ask about their Twitter presences, or lack thereof.
Wagenknecht said he expects to add Twitter to his social media repertoire before he runs for re-election in 2018. “People like to know you’re interested in other people in this world,” he said.
Describing herself as a news junkie, Inman said her Twitter feed keeps her in the swim of things. But while she will jab at Trump on Twitter, she won’t follow him on Twitter. “My head would explode,” she said.
Mott said Twitter exceeds his tolerance for social media. “I associate Twitter with Donald Trump,” he said. “Anything I can do to distance myself from that is good.”
My own Twitter performance is nothing to brag about. Over five years, 440 followers, 298 tweets, almost all of them Napa Journal columns.
Unlike the president’s tweets, none of them has lit up the tweetosphere.