Walking up State Street last night with Josh Porter and John Eckman after leaving my first gathering with the North Shore Web Geeks, I noticed three people I didn’t know filtering out of Agave Mexican Bistro ($2 taco night every Monday and Tuesday, with amazing deep-glass-filled margaritas) onto the sidewalk.
Two girls and a guy.
As we passed them, I heard one of the girls remark how cold it was outside.
Without pausing my stride, I interjected, “Yeah, it’s too early for this.” Or something like that.
She didn’t hear me, or if she did, she didn’t say anything. But one of the guys said, as I briefly turned around to acknowledge I was talking to them, “You’re right.”
I could have been Twittering (oh, I’m sorry, TWEETING, can we all please keep to one term or the other?) something like, Walking past some strangers. Cute girl. Told her I agreed it was cold out. Brrr.
And the guy who responded could have been anyone, following my stream or not, but maybe was monitoring for the word, “Brrr,” and decided to interject and send me a message. Not unlike when I wrote last month about the Tweeting on the Bus project.
Jay Hathaway, listed in the domain registries as the owner of record of Am I Flirting?, a Tumblr-powered blog (think of Tumblr as a mini blog, if Twitter is a micro blog; I have one of those too, but use Posterous at ariwriter.posterous.com if you’re still following all these random links I’m adding in, which is not unlike retweeting what other people say that I think is valuable and that maybe I think you should read, too) has a mini blog post from earlier this week that monotones about tweeting about a cute Starbucks barista.
Jay (or whoever the author is) writes:
The thing is, when you Twitter about a cute girl in front of you, you know she isn’t on Twitter at that exact moment to read it. (Even if you do have an iPhone and live in the Mission or Williamsburg or whatever it is and kids today etc. etc. etc.) What you’re doing is, to abuse post-structuralist theorists Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick, performing a flirtation. You are casting this flirtation, like a spell, out in public — or, a semi-public. But a possible shared public all the same. True, the target of your flirtation may never see it. You telling her she is “cute” in a broadcast communications medium in a sense makes her cute, to all who just have to trust that she is, because they are not there with you. Sedgwick would call this a “speech act” — similar to, “It’s a boy!” at the birth of a child, or, in a marriage ceremony, “I do.” Butler may say, you may not be flirting, but such distinctions matter little — you are performing the role of the flirt. Your readers see your pronouncement of the barista as “cute” and recognize the behavior — you, distractedly and quite possibly against the adorably hand-printed rules of cafe behavior, Twittering from line that you spotted someone cute serving you a beverage. You aren’t flirting with the barista. You are flirting with someone in your audience that you hope will recognize your words, your performance, as flirty — as making you a flirt — as someone who does flirt, who they, too, can flirt with.
I like that writing style and he brings the point across smoothly in an intellectual way, don’t you agree?
Hat/tip to @declan with a random Google-resulted posting I found on adding Twitter vocabulary to a lexicon where he suggests a twirt is a verb to flirt on Twitter.