Friday, December 9, 2011

I May Have Walked Into The Light

Regrettably, I couldn't make it down to Dewey Square in Boston Thursday night to experience Mayor Tom Menino's midnight deadline in person.

But while working overnight on deadline for an unrelated project, something happened.

I drank the social networking Kool-Aid.

The Occupy Boston's Media Team and their live web-streaming of first the suspenseful General Assembly and then the tension leading up to the deadline followed by the palpable relief (and skepticism of some) felt by the throng when Police Superintendent William Evans announced there would be no raid held me transfixed for more than six hours.

That's more time than I've spent on Myspace and Facebook, in total, since 2004.

Kudos especially to Occupy Boston's Phil Anderson who demonstrated the technique and professionalism and personality of a seasoned journalistic observer.

As my friends and colleagues will inform you, I've never bought the idea that technological innovation trumps good writing and effective storytelling. But the coupling of Thursday night's emotional anticipation and digital capability made me re-evaluate my skeptical attitude towards social media tools.

To convey meaning and pull off anything approaching profundity you still need a compelling storyline - a thousand people standing up to prove that "freedom of assembly" is more than just three words on a dusty old scroll, for example - and a knack for being in the right location at the right time.

But the immediacy and impact of digitally delivered and archived multimedia and the ability for many to connect with many, second by second, is one genie that isn't going back into the bottle.

For those of you who have heard me rail against the notion of technology as savior however, don't get your hopes up too high. Once this caffeine induced intoxication wears off I may revert to my curmudgeonly and analog ways.

And I'm still not signing up for Twitter.