Saturday, October 23, 2010

Will Tweet for Meat

I'm a professional photographer. I have two digital cameras, two computers and innumerable portable hard-drives. I have an iPhone. Bluetooth. MobileMe on a cloud. I'm digital. I'm connected, right? I just don't tweet. In fact, my inner Luddite is already troubled by all the time I spend emailing, surfing, online shopping and photoshopping (it hasn't spoken to me since I started this blog.) Do I show my age by admitting that I find most social media a little bewildering? Having always been a somewhat private person, I don't understand the compulsion to have everyone in the world know my every thought, or see pictures of me half-naked and drunk at a keg party.

So, needless to say, Twitter hasn't held out much interest for me. If most people's thoughts are relatively uninteresting, then abbreviated or mundane thoughts would be ... well, mundane. And I'm not very curious about up-to-the-moment activities of celebrities and entertainers. I'm just not sure how much more spare time I have for tweeting and re-tweeting (my inner Luddite isn't too sure either.) I should be in the garden weeding.

But the other day, I had one of those momentous epiphanies, like Caravaggio's Conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. I didn't exactly fall off my horse and there wasn't a strong beam of godly light, but an interesting application for Twitter did became clear to me.

I was doing some photography at a fabulous butcher shop (Concord Prime & Fish) for an upcoming story in Edible Boston. In the course of a conversation with the owner, Mike Dulock, I discovered he tweets when he has some interesting or limited offering—a whole lamb that he just got in, or the first bay scallops of the season, for example. Rather than trying to keep track of which customers like lamb sausage, and calling or emailing them all individually, he just tweets. And since I'm nuts for homemade sausage, veal bones, pork fatback and all other manner of interesting butcher bits—I get this. Literally and figuratively.

Although, for the time being, I think I'll just listen. Like the great 20th century English novelist, Evelyn Waugh, who in his later and eccentrically pugnacious years would scream at his kids through an ear trumpet (even then a charmingly outdated piece of Victoriana) but refused to actually listen through the device—I imagine myself a social media contrarian. I won't tweet that I'm weeding in the garden, just know that I am.


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