Monday, February 21, 2011


Image Courtesy: Bicoastally
I'm trying to make sense of Twitter. Whether it is a meaningless, time-sucking medium or something of an ingenious, culturally appropriate way to communicate is hard to say.  I mean, I don't think it's the latter, but what do I know.  Seriously, what do I know?  Not a lot, especially about Twitter.  I haven't figured out all the slang, what with all the RT's and @ symbols and hashtags (is there a bank of hashtags from which to call or do you make them up as you go?).   I'm also trying to understand the relational aspects of the medium.  There's this giant, growing web of interconnectedness.  But it's not like facebook where you can comment directly on posts in a personal way.  You sort of can, but as I understand it, it becomes yet another worldwidely accessible thing that happens to be directed at a single person solely because you threw an @ symbol in.

Is Twitter a marketer's dream (see: Dogfish Head / Red Cross faux pas gone good)? Will it bring peace to the Middle East (or at least democratic governments)?  Will it eclipse Facebook?  Will I succumb to the machine and 'follow' Justin Bieber?

Because these questions are being asked (all but the last one, really), I feel I need to be in on it, at least enough to talk about it at the watercooler.  Sheesh, I think i just stumbled upon my life philosophy.  Be in on "it" enough to be able to talk about it, or enjoy it with friends, but not enough to pay for your college or land you an awesome job.  Hm, this self-illuminating moment brought to you by Blogger. And Twitter. #secrettobeingeasytotalktoatpartiesbutnevermakethecoverofTimemagazine

So, Twitter is interesting.  My lineup is intersting.  Not sure what it says about me, but I'm sure some marketing exec knows exactly what it says about me, and good for her because I don't care.  I just want to know what Ellen, Conan, Vanessa Hine, Stuart Holden, Carlos Bocanegra, Thomas Friedman (never posts), Johnny Wier, SportsNation, Kim Clijsters, my sister and a few others have to say about the world.  And gosh that @stuholden has a lot to say about the world.  And he posts cute pics! And lots of these: :-) !!!! (I've decided that his twitter persona is as 110mph as his onfield presence. And that's a good thing.

P.S.  Add me.  You won't be sorry. (but you may not be impressed).  @kwittgens

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cold & Rainy

When it's cold and rainy, I think of England.
I think of walking the streets of Covent Garden, listening to David Gray.  Of huddling into the British Museum along with the hundreds of others who take refuge in the historic monstrosity on London's rainy days.   The main hall echoes with children's shouts, umbrellas and squeaky boots.  Then you look up, and some Assyrian god is towering over you. There could be worse places to spend a rainy afternoon, navigating relics, curiosities and slick marble floors.

When it's gray outside my window, I imagine how differently rainy days feel in England than here.  In Georgia, where we go from garage, to car, to parking lot, to store, back to car.  We need only be prepared for brief interludes of getting wet.  We grumble about how the rain impedes our life and activity.  When I lived in London, you just went about your day same as before, just better prepared for the elements.  Knowing I'd have to walk from my hotel, or guest home, several blocks to the tube meant I was prepared for getting wet.  And every other Londoner on the tube was wet, too. And we all stood in silence (that odd European public transportation ritual), hundreds of us, with nary a sound but the clack and rattle of the tube car zipping through tunnels underneath a worldclass city.

I love the bright warmth of the meticulously organised shops contrasted with the damp chill of the streets.  I love that shops are accessible simply by walking down a sidewalk and ducking into the doorway, rather than, as we must stateside, precariously navigating through a parking lot filled with oversized cars on a mission for the best spot. And the pubs, by gosh the pubs with their rusty-colored warmth, meeting you with a rush of conviviality as soon as the double-doors open to the inside.  The chatter of people huddled together, the glow of the tele playing a match.  I even love the warm beer, because, after all, you're already cold.  England's pubs would not be famous were it not for England's cold and rain.  They go together beautifully, like, well, bangers and mash.

Walking through the parks on a rainy morning takes on a mystical quality.  Regent's colors and grandeur that are so alive on crisp, sunny fall weekends, shrink back into impressionistic swirls of faded hues.  Wide swaths of gray-green grass lie still, save for a few shadowy figures, traveling the park's sidewalks.  Nameless commuters in black overcoats walk with determination on these days, taking in little of the beauty for the sake of a quick arrival at their destination.  But the beauty is there.

St. Pauls windows have less glow on rainy days, but the cavernous cathedrals feels just as much, if not more, of a sacred retreat.  Candles burn brighter, and the golds are warm and brilliant.  Standing on Westminster bridge in drizzle just seems right.  The Thames is gray and milky, and nearly fades into the chalky tones of the historic buildings lining it's shores.  They are distinct, yet the same. 

It is London, and it's cold and rainy. And it is beautiful.  (now where is the nearest entrance to the Tube...I'm freezing!)

*photo note: the observant reader will notice this picture is NOT Westminster Bridge, or even London. It's Lyon, France. But it sure was cold and rainy.