A to Z April Challenge

During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. Thank you for visiting and please follow the blog if you are not doing so already.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why Twitter Is Like a Road Trip

Sign for Wall DrugImage via Wikipedia
         When I was a kid my family frequently was on the road as we traveled to one place or another.  After I learned how to read, one of my favorite backseat activities on those trips was watching for the Burma Shave signs.  

          Burma Shave was an old-fashioned men's shaving cream product that resorted to an old school style of advertising--the roadside sign.  The product sign itself would be preceded by a series of small signs that would present a catchy poem or saying that sometimes was about the product, but also about topics like highway safety.

         Here is an example of a series of Burma Shave signs:

Met Anna
Made a hit
Neglected beard
Ben-Anna split

           Serial advertising signs are still in use although usually coming in billboard form along the interstates where signage is permitted.   Some examples are the signs between Houston and San Antonio advertising travel stop Buc-ee's, the billboards along I-90 for South Dakota attraction Wall Drug, and the roadside campaign hype teasing The Thing? in Arizona.  

            Long stretches of highway are sprinkled with the signs that begin to create an anticipation to see what's going to come next.  Eventually there is the payoff of the attraction, but were the signs enough to draw the traveler off the highway?  Did the signs keep the viewers entertained as they went on their journeys?

            When I go to the Twitter site I can't help be reminded of those serial signs.  Small doses in a few words try to grab hold of the surfer of the Twitterscape, but is the tweet powerful enough to make me look--cause me to be curious or remember what I've seen?   

           Traveling the web is like taking a journey without a vehicle, without leaving your home.  Taking in the blogs and websites is more like sitting back with a magazine or visiting the library.   Twitter is like a road trip where the road goes on forever and it's filled with Burma Shave signs.   But if the content doesn't grab me I may stop paying attention.  If I stop paying attention, I might miss that exit for Buc-ees.  If the lure of the words isn't strong enough, I might decide that The Thing? is just a rip-off and not worth my time.   

          The Burma Shave signs came in small doses and were memorable and clever.  They didn't get old because they left us wanting more.  We looked for them.  Twitter may be overkill.

           The Burma Shave bards might have put it this way:

 Tired eyes from        
 Too many tweets     
 Might cause this guy
   To fall asleep         

  Burma Shave

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Ron Easton for Dads UnLimited said...

That's a great post on Americana, past and present! Well done.

Journaling Woman said...

We do get to visit our planet more through the internet. Although I'm glad for this, I do realize that being somewhere in person is a better experience. Until then, I'll sit behind the screen and visit.


Heather said...

Great metaphor!! I usually caught those signs about 2 in and they never made sense... again, much like Twitter!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Great post Lee have got reactivated on twitter hopefully it will be fine this time round.


Susan Kane said...

Road trips were given some entertainment with the Burma Shave signs. No electronics, just basic words. Then we'd go back to using our imaginations about the scenery.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

Lol! this is awesome ;)

Rossandra said...

Hi there, just stopped by to tell you I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award over on my blog. Have fun!

The Tame Lion said...

Vigorously nodding my head in agreement!

LynNerdKelley said...

This is such a great analogy. I have a hard time with Twitter at times. Actually, a lot of the time. I don't know if it's because I'm older or what, but I prefer blogging and FaceBook. Still, Twitter has its place and can be pretty darn helpful at times. I'll click on your follow me on Twitter button. I still haven't figure out how to put it on my blog!

Sylvia Ney said...

Cute post! New follower here. I'm trying to get a head start on visiting my fellow "A to Z"ers ;-)


Kerrie Boyd Thomas said...

I get lost in the twitter information. Nothing sticks in my head. LOL!
Stopping over from the A to Z Challenge. I can't wait to start!!
P.S. Of course I'm your newest follower
Giggle, Laugh, Cry

SherryE said...

Great analogy. I'm going to be looking at Twitter with new eyes!