Today my Twitter feed went nuts. I mean, it's Twitter, it's usually nuts, but not my feed. I have (had) few followers. I'm an IT consultant, I follow mainly comedians and UK/US political folk. I retweet and chat with people whose opinions I agree with, and sometimes have a semi-humorous snipe at people I disagree with, including @realdonaldtrump.
Today I had a *very* busy day.
11.30am UK time, 6.30am Washington time, is Trump Toilet Tweet time. Today's tweet, not unusually, was a) from Fox News, and b) about himself. He retweeted a Fox News report saying he may pardon a guy who had illegally targeted undocumented immigrants. Following the weekend's trouble in Charlottesville, and his initial non-criticism of the killing of a protester, I decided to send Fox and Trump a snippy reply: "He's a fascist, so not unusual".
I got back a few "LOLs", and a couple of Trump trolls saying I'm an idiot, which I know, so not a problem.
A few minutes later, my notifications, normally a quiet little backwater, became a deluge. Maybe I'd hit a nerve and a few Fox or Trump followers found it funny, but then I saw a comment in the flood - "OMG I can't believe he RTd it!!" So I checked and found that Donald Trump had retweeted my message saying he's a fascist. OMFG.
Clearly a mistake, and one he deleted about 15 minutes later - but not before I grabbed a screenshot of the retweet and proudly tweeted THAT baby). But the Internet never forgets, the snowball was rolling. And of course, anything Trump tweets or retweets is news - it's his domain.
It went mad, and public. Within an hour I'd had DMs from some UK online news outlets (including this one) asking me how I felt about being retweeted by Donald Trump - then ABC, Washington Post and the BBC in Washington wanting to speak to me. It was only a tweet! I've spoken to all, explained I don't think he meant to retweet me, let alone endorse my calling him a fascist, and they've all been very nice. And this afternoon I've been on WGN Radio in Washington, and my local radio station, Radio Lancashire, wants a chat tomorrow.
By now, it's heading round the world - CNN, NBC, BBC UK, and foreign news sites too - he also tweeted an image of "the Trump train" running over CNN, so there was more substance to those stories. And still the replies come. And here's the odd thing - far, far more replies have been positive and smiling than calling me out. Maybe the Trump trolls think it's not worth bothering, or they think he meant it and that's just fine, but I've been pleasantly surprised by positive responses. And I'm very pleased that some of those I follow keenly on Twitter (including official God of Twitter satire David Schneider) had spotted this madness and had kind words to say.
And still it continues - I'm Twitter famous for 15 minutes, and, slightly worryingly, people are now picking up some of my tweets from *ages* ago, which may not go so well. But even as I write this, Mr Trump is saying even more outrageous stuff to distract from this morning's outrageous stuff. So by tomorrow I'm likely to be back to happy obscurity, and many of the few thousand new Twitter followers I've gained will rightly wander off. But never let it be said that a Tweet from Donald Trump can't raise somebody's profile.
Mike Holden - Officially endorsed by the President of the United States