For nearly a month, Mayor Stephanie “Failings-Blake” has been on Twitter asking followers for #MayorLove and sending snark-filled and biting messages, including one that partly reads “#FuckThePoor #LoveTheRich.”
It’s an obvious caricature account of the real Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Twitter, which Technical.ly Baltimore pointed out in September. The person behind it is Burkely Hermann, 19-year-old blogger, St. Mary’s College undergraduate and protestor who participated in the Occupy Baltimore protests in the Inner Harbor in 2011.
“I kind of feel like I just need to do something related to problems that are happening in Baltimore,” he said. “I thought creating a Twitter feed was a good way to do it.”
Blogs and spoof Twitter accounts sometimes become worthwhile commentaries, as one might say about The City That Breeds blog. Mayor Failings-Blake hasn’t yet been around long enough to truly take root in the same way. It’s more analogous to the Tumblr blog that collected hate-tweets about the Grand Prix during race weekend 2013.
Is it just petty snark or meaningful analysis? Who knows yet. Like with ‘That Guy’s on Heroin,” sometimes that’s up to the observer.
But the questions Hermann raises on the account align closely with what some of the more vocal locals protest via social media: the now-canceled Grand Prix, the $107 million in financing for the Harbor Point development, the casino construction near M&T Bank Stadium.
“Since I’m in school, it’s not like I can go to protests every day,” said Hermann. “So it’s a way for me to connect to what’s happening in Baltimore without directly being in Baltimore.”
Hermann was born in Baltimore city and attended Towson High School, and much of what he tweets about is influenced by his writings on his blog, Beyond the Barricade.
Airing grievances through a Twitter account, and a parody one at that, might seem like a hollow gesture — griping without a definitive call to action. These days, however, some of Baltimore’s elected officials are on Twitter, and some of the more savvy users respond to their critics and supporters. Hermann hopes this spoof Twitter account, aside from just advertising his personal views on city government policy in a backhanded way, will prod more people into engaging with City Council members on the social media site.
“I think it’d be good for people to … see all these problems and push them to action,” he said.
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