Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Tale of Two T-Shirts by Andy Scheer

It was like social media with fabric
I'm big into antique cars and antique jazz. So a few weekends back, for two of the days I attended the Evergreen (Colorado) Jazz festival, I wore car-themed T-shirts. Both days, they resulted in friendly conversations.

The first day, several people who saw my shirt asked about the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg festival, held every Labor Day weekend in Auburn, Indiana. Both fast and luxurious, the Duesenberg gave rise to the expression, “It's a Duesey.”

The second day, a guy asked about my T-shirt for the Cussler Museum. (Author of numerous action-adventure stories, Clive Cussler has collected exotic autos for forty years. He maintains a museum of some 75 cars in nearby Arvada, Colorado.) Turns out that Walt, like Clive Cussler, is also a diver and likes antique autos. He's even read several of the Dirk Pitt adventure novels.

With several common interests, Walt and I hit it off. He gave me his full attention as I described Cussler's car collection. He had no objection when I gave him the museum location and its hours. He didn't mind hearing details about the cars.

This weekend, Walt sent me an email saying he'd had a great visit to the museum. “Would never have known about it had I not seen your T-shirt,” he said. “ Indebted for your info.”

Kind of like how social media's meant to work. I simply wore the shirt, allowing anyone interested to make a comment. Nothing pushy. No attempts to sell people products. Nothing to insult people who didn't share my views.

Lately on Facebook, I've increasingly found myself clicking the option to turn off similar posts from certain individuals. Even if I fit their target market (do my “friends” really think I want to attend an online party to buy makeup?), I don't sign on to “social media” so people can try to sell me things.

Knowing I'm in the minority about really liking old cars and old jazz, maybe I'm also in the minority in my opinion of people using social media to give their “friends” a hard sell. But maybe not.

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