Until a few days ago, Pietro Derelicto was an unknown name on Twitter. Pietro’s account tended to tweet about Maryland politics and followed many of the state’s delegates and senators, but he had no followers of his own and little to no engagement with his messages.
His anonymity changed this weekend, however, after Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot mentioned to a Torch reporter that, inspired by Mitt Romney, he had recently opened an hidden account.
Knowing Franchot’s residence in Takoma Park and his staunch support for Governor Larry Hogan, it took the Torch only a few minutes to locate the account, which exhibits Franchot’s uniquely illogical mix of support for the unapologetically liberal town and the annoyingly conservative Hogan. Most tellingly, his profile describes Pietro as the “Computer Troller of Maryland.”
“Esta mio. Did I say that right?” said Franchot, in broken Spanish, after being asked about Derelicto. “I saw how people in both parties enjoyed Romney’s undercover Twitter presence and thought I could do the same.”
Despite Franchot’s intention, most Marylanders didn’t seem to show the same interest in the Pietro Derelicto account as they had when Romney’s account was uncovered. “Wait, who are we talking about?” asked Silver Spring resident Frank Padilla. “I don’t recognize either of those names. Were they on The Wire or something?”
“I’ve never heard of Peter Franchot, and I’ve never heard of the job of Comptroller,” said Julian Evans of Burtonsville. “In fact, I think you’re making it up.”
Aside from politics, Derelicto seems to be a fun loving guy. He loves Katy Perry, going to county fairs, visiting local breweries, and is ostensibly a huge fan of Maryland sports teams. In one tweet he wrote:
Some view writing under a fake name as a cowardly act, but others believe it allows Franchot to peel off his many years of snake skin and safely interact with the people he represents. That can be a particular concern in the current age of social media, where one out of context tweet can destroy you.
Franchot has to publicly maintain a centrist Democratic demeanor if he wants to be Maryland’s governor someday, but Pietro Derelicto can be a wild card who is free to express his true Republican self without consequences. It’s no wonder Derelicto openly supports Hogan, while Franchot publicly supports a local organic grocery store fighting against an evil developer.
Now that his identity has been revealed, it remains unclear if Franchot will continue to tweet as Derelicto. “Its been fun getting out of my shell, but I live in Takoma Park,” stated Franchot. “And that means repressing my true self to avoid judgement.”