When Donald Trump did his best Dr. Evil impression, essentially holding "donation money" ransom unless President Obama released his college transcripts--one can never be too sure of the evildoings one undertook while at Columbia University--it was immediate fodder for the social media world, including myself. How could one resist picturing Trump holding his pinky finger up to his face as he said "five million dollars"?
Tweet, sent. Facebook update, posted. A few retweets immediately popped up on my iPhone. Then a couple of "likes" on Facebook. Pleased with my trivial attempt at political humor, I went back to reading Gawker. Then came the comments on Facebook. Comments might actually be too kind of a term. It ended up morphing into a war of words between a few of my friends, one of whom lived in my building. I quickly discovered that person was in favor of Trump's publicity stunt. Awkward.
Donald Trump decided to be Dr. Evil for Halloween? Surprised he didn't raise a pinky finger when saying $5 million. jsi.ms/TfSH4A
— James Sims (@SimsJames) October 24, 2012
Normally, my silly post would have been reserved only for my like-minded Twitter followers. If I disagree with you on Twitter, I can always unfollow. Although, more often than not, I'll shoot back with an equally snarky reply and carry on. If your attack got me to chuckle, I'll keep you around for a while.
Get into a verbal fight on Facebook, and I still have to see you in our elevator the next morning. I'm all for embracing awkward moments, but not when that initial verbal brawl is seen, and judged, by my republican-minded in-laws. It is far easier agreeing to avoid heated political debates with people I love than to risk damaging a lifelong relationship because I felt snarky that day. There's not enough Advil in Duane Reade to take on that battle.
You see, I have "real" connections with people on Facebook. On Twitter, it is a more candid, yet less personal connection. Cute baby photos and eating habits are perfect for Facebook. A question one should ask themselves before posting on Facebook: Would grandma approve? When posting on Twitter: Will it get retweeted? Like any veteran comedian will tell you, know your audience.
Perhaps it is an age thing. My Facebook friends seem to skew older than those following my 140-character diatribes. Chalk that demographic split up to a large swath of family. Does snark or outright sleeve-wearing politics rub older folk the wrong way?
It seemingly did for Lena Dunham's "crazy fucking hag" of an ex-boyfriend's mother, as she recently wrote about in The New Yorker:
"Nancy did feel she learned too much about me from my status updates. Like the one where I said something like 'It's Christmas day and I have a raging UTI--do you think I got it from watching 9½ weeks?' Or was it the one that sort of goes 'I want to date a male flight attendant. Everyone I've slept with is gay anyway.'"
Were I to take a page out of Alec Baldwin's playbook and tell my Facebook "family" that I'm moving to Canada if the election takes a turn for the worse, I'd spend the next year answering questions, likely under interrogation techniques, at holiday gatherings. On Twitter, I'd see a few retweets and move on to a Big Bird barb. One shouldn't have to go into a thesis-length explanation of every candid political remark.
So, my resolution for the next presidential election is to let "grandma" share my stupid dog pictures with her retirement community cronies and reserve my playing of pin the tail on Donald Trump to Twitter. That is, of course, if the Twitter bird doesn't get on Mitt Romney's bad side. We all know how that worked out for its yellow-feathered pal.