What Would William Morris Tweet?

“It took me years to understand that words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last.” William Morris in 115 characters.

There is an ongoing debate about the longevity of Twitter in technology and cultural circles. Just as William Morris, the 19th century British Arts and Crafts leader felt about the evils of the dehumanization of the Industrial Revolution, so many people feel today about social networking and its effect on communication. Many believe that the parsing of thoughts on micro-blogs such as Twitter represent the breakdown of organized thinking. I believe the phenomenon has actually stimulated thought and discussion.

I can’t image living in a more interesting time for communication. Not since the invention of the Gutenberg press or the telephone has there been such a radical shift in the way information is transmitted. Virtual communities are springing up everywhere online and, in turn, mobilizing members to meet up in person.

Twitter is the perfect facilitator.

There are studies trying to debunk the idea that using the internet somehow diminishes your ability or need to have face time with real people. I believe that that social networking is encouraging more interesting and thought-provoking personal interaction. Take my personal obsession—the Los Angeles taco truck craze. I know that New York City was way ahead of the curve on this phenomenon but Los Angeles combined the taco truck experience with social networking technology. The Kogi bbq taco trucks came first in their use of Twitter as a quick, easy and free way to announce their daily schedules. “Tweets” reach the customer base immediately, making this type of marketing timely and ensures reaching a very targeted audience. The free press generated by the use of Twitter is far-reaching and viral. Now it seems that Los Angeles has crisscrossing mobile food vendors on every freeway, all posting tweets. From Sprinkles cupcakes to Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches, Los Angeles has mobile gourmet food parking in almost every corner.

Hot dogs and wine got us off the internet and out with friends.

It all started with a little story in the Food blog of the Los Angeles Times announcing that the Lets Be Frank truck would be parked outside Silverlake Wine on Thursday nights. What could be better than grass-fed beef dogs and a flight of wines? Using Facebook, we sent out an invitation to about sixty friends and colleagues to meet up on Thursday to try the hot dogs and wine—thirty showed up! Considering we rarely go out on weeknights, we figured that was a pretty great turnout. Now we get out regularly on Thursday nights to see friends and support our local businesses. None of this would have happened without Twitter—I think its here to stay.

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