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Archive for February, 2011

A Tool of the Trade

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

The polls had just closed for California’s June 2010 primary election, and I knew I was in for a long night. Tuesday evenings I had volunteered to work the executive producer shift at Neon Tommy, where I was in charge of promoting stories on the front page, running the Twitter and Facebook accounts and producing content. This particular evening I had to provide updated election results.

At the time, I didn’t have television. So, I had to rely on the Internet. I spent the night glued to TweetDeck, software useful for managing multiple Twitter accounts, waiting for @CASOSVote to tweet the results. As soon as I saw a tweet, I excitedly updated Neon Tommy’s story. @CASOSVote is the Twitter account for the California Secretary of State so I knew the information would be accurate.

Twitter gave me virtually real-time updates. Once the California Secretary of State knew whether a ballot measure was losing, I knew. This was amazing!


From Letters to Phone Calls

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

My dad and me circa mid 1980s.

My dad used to write letters for everything. Whether it was a letter he wanted me to see to the insurance company or just because, I would often come home to a white envelope sitting on my bed. When his handwriting got virtually illegible, he began composing lists and letters on the computer and then printing them out.

He used the house phone all the time to take care of whatever business he had. If it weren’t for the phone, he wouldn’t have had a career in sales. When my dad got his first cell phone, he would call me to say hi or ask me when I would be home from school.

As I sat down to write this, less than a day after his death, the first things I thought of were those letters and phone calls. My dad had embraced the old school but never quite made it to the new school. That wasn’t a bad thing, though.

His old-school charm encouraged me to use those tried-and-true techniques as well. I had all but forgotten that until yesterday. His letter writing inspired me to write early on, and I would use parcel post to send cards and notes to my friends and relatives. The summer my husband and I began dating, he wrote me almost daily from Boy Scout camp, where he worked as a counselor. I got so happy when the mail came that summer. The mail doesn’t excite me quite as much anymore.

Eventually I let technology win. Now, I favor e-mail as a means of contacting people, even sources, over picking up the phone. I would even go as far to say that I avoid actually talking to people. Text messaging, something my dad never did, has also become a fantastically quick way to avoid punching in a few numbers on a keypad.