Sonoma Faces off on Facebook

In another of my social media-to-print experiments (OK, admittedly, Twitter interview made only partial sense – least of all to those on Twitter), I decided to “crowd-source” my column. Crowd-sourcing is like out-sourcing but instead of farming my column out to an emerging economy like India or East Petaluma, one taps the so-called “wisdom of crowds.” The results, I suppose, depend on the crowd in which one is running. Mine is apparently enthused, despondent and ultimately passionate, if slightly pissy, about several issues now facing Sonomans.

Author and thinker Clay Shirky explored the notion and others in his tome, “Here Comes Everyone: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations,” in which he observed “Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring … It’s when a technology becomes normal, then ubiquitous, and finally so pervasive as to be invisible, that the really profound changes happen.” Um, well, we’ll see, Clay. This is what happened on Tuesday: Pursuant to a query I posted on Facebook, “Taking requests for my column this week. What’s on your mind, Sonoma?” the first 20 minutes yielded a pitch for cheese by a cheesemaker, the namedrop of a theater production from the dramaturge and an inquiry regarding an exceptional bottle of sparkling I was to deliver to sommelier pal Christopher Sawyer on the occasion of his 40th birthday on behalf of the inquirer, who simply posted “Pol Roger.”

Later a wine guy mused on “the Renaissance of supple ‘balanced’ pinot noirs to the Russian River Valley and the death of over-blown ‘hot rod’ wines …” A woman from the old Lumaville scene simply posted “deconstruction,” philosopher Jacques Derrida’s approach to textual analysis, a notion big in the ’90s and preceded by the once vogue terms “post-modern” and “existential,” which mysteriously evaporated from cafe conversations like the steam of a Venti latte, if you know what I mean. Another Luman lamented the unavailability of my column since she moved from Sonoma, despite the fact that it’s online, every week at sonomanews.com (with a reprise on DHowell.com). Oh, and you can always subscribe but I guess that’s so Web 1.0.

The Facebook stew was simmering. Now I needed it to boil over into quotes, which I could cut-and-paste to make my word count. I posted, “Brilliant. So far so good. Now send me quotes, which I can attribute to you …”

Bobo de Albo suggested I opine on “taco truck overkill” and offered the quote, “It’s overkill.” Thanks for contracting “it is” to “it’s,” Bobo, big help on the word count. Steve Meloan bemoaned “The dearth of places in Sonoma for kids to run around during the rainy months and the boiling hot months. Why isn’t there a bowling alley, indoor rock climbing, indoor pool, indoor soccer, etc?” The wine guy, Robert Conard, jumped in with some suggestions, but alas, they weren’t Valley-specific, which led Sharna Haver to lament “Are we too good for a bowling alley …”

Apparently, yes — yes, we are too good for a bowling alley if we accept that we are indeed “good” and the empirical fact that there is no bowling alley.

The I-T’s own J.M. Berry reflected that we once had a bowling alley and, should it return, he nominated Emmy Kaplan of Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack to run the lounge. Kaplan could not be reached for comment until 12 hours later. She apparently ignored Berry’s career advice (smart) and posted her suggestion that I write about “how everybody complains that there is nothing to do and then when there is something to do they make an excuse.” Charissa Drengsen capped the conversation with “the state of the arts in public schools … (are) there any?” Yes, Charissa, there’s a blossoming graffiti program.

OK, Sonoma, from what I can glean from your Facebook commentary, Emmy should install a bowling alley,  a pool full of Russian River Valley pinot noir and climbing-wall covered with graffiti, which everyone will complain about — especially when the taco truck arrives.