You may occasionally wonder who the person is behind The Advocate Food’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/theadvocatefood) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/theadvocatefood) accounts.
Some of you may know that it’s me. Fewer of you probably know that it’s like an obsession. I’m always posting, checking in and snapping pictures. Not all of it gets posted because, occasionally, my better judgment prevails.
The truth is that I love talking to all of you. Twitter and Facebook have exploded into very efficient forms of rapid communication, as long as the ideas being discussed aren’t terribly complex.
Even in this day and age, there are some conversations best had face to face. But when you need to tell lots of people one thing, Twitter and Facebook are an excellent bet.
Take, for example, the recent unpleasantness known as Isaac. Right as its first squalls moved into Ascension Parish, the Colvin clan was taking a walk. I find toddlers and dogs weather storms best with some of their energy siphoned off early on.
During our walk and consequent jog back to the house in the rain, we picked up another canine companion. She was an American bulldog with furry ears and good manners. She had a collar but no tags, and was in good enough shape that you could tell she had people. And that they were probably worried sick about her.
We bundled her up in the car and drove surrounding neighborhoods, but no one still outside recognized her. So back home we went, where she got a bath and some supper and promptly passed out on a blanket.
Meanwhile, I snapped a picture and took to Facebook, posting everywhere I could think of. We found her people about eight hours and a gazillion shares later. They were paramedics who lived a couple of neighborhoods over. They’d been called out to work during the storm.
Anastasia, as we now know her to be called, wandered off during a potty break and couldn’t be tracked down before they both had to go. We told them she was fine and more than welcome to stay with us for as long as necessary. And so she did, until the action died down and they could break away to come get her.
After Isaac’s wrath, Facebook and Twitter showed up again, full of messages from several Baton Rouge and New Orleans eateries offering free food to first responders and power workers. Chef John Besh offered up free food from Borgne to people running shelters.
Beyond that, though, both social media networks offered information on what was open, when and what was to be had. Where the groceries are, who has ice and the occasional blip of power. Vital information in a hurricane, whether you’re a first responder or not.
Social media has many a critic, and many of them make valid points. But it has its uses, too, and those tend to coincide with the best bits of humanity. Because of Facebook and Twitter, Anastasia’s back home with her family, people have access to hot food and cold air, and, most importantly, the residents of the Gulf Coast have a live connection to each other in their time of need.
Beth Colvin is The Advocate’s assistant Food editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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