As Twitter takes an increasingly larger role for ongoing conversation and commentary about General Conference happenings, tweeters have seen an increasing number of “fake” twitter accounts using the hashtag #gc2012. They include FakeUMBishop, FakeUMCreporter, FakeWillimon, FakeUMdelegate and the most famous, FakeUMCDS. The Rev. Mike Baughman, special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter had the chance to interview FakeUMCDS.
Okay, you seem to know a lot about how Methodism works. Are you a United Methodist elder?
Does your DS know that you’re fake UMCDS?
Why keep your identity hidden?
For a couple reasons. One, by labeling yourself as “fake” you label yourself as a satirical, online, twitter account. Secondly, you can make so many more jokes if you aren’t worried about negative ramifications. There is a danger here because you can be tempted to be negative, but I hope to avoid that.
What’s the value of satire and making jokes?
It’s fun to point out the buzzwords that develop, dream up other committee names, fake lesislation is also fun without making fun of a person. A lot of our jokes are only funny to us in the UM world. I try to make those inside jokes and do it as much as possible without snark and negativity. I want to lighten the mood and not increase pessimism. I don’t want laughs by making fun of what’s going on.
Who do you follow on twitter?
Have you ever re-tweeted yourself?
I don’t think I have … it seems narcissistic to re-tweet yourself.
What’s your hope for General Conference?
Truthfully, the hope is simply that we can end on a hopeful note. It’s been really tough the past few years and the stats aren’t good, but the Methodist Church is doing a lot of great things and has a lot to be proud of. My hope is that in the midst of disagreement we can be genuinely hopeful about what the church is trying to do.
Last Saturday night, were you watching legislative committee wrap up or hitting the town of Tampa Bay?
I was checking out downtown with some mosquito buddies.