This morning I was set to show some ethnographic film for our Media, Technology & Sociology course. I was going to show DVDs of Mitch Duneier’s Sidewalk and Jim Ault’s Born Again and a VHS of David Redmon’s excellent Mardi Gras: Made in China. I don’t have a VHS player anymore, so I went to my classroom a half hour early to cue it up, but the room was locked. Flummoxed, I sat in a lounge area and pulled out my iPhone. My dad had just emailed me a note about an NPR story he heard in his car about a L.A. Korean Taco Truck, Kogi, that changes locations every day, and Twitters its whereabouts. I searched ‘taco’ in my NPR app on my phone, downloaded the three minute, 49 second report, plugged it into the technology stand (once the room was opened) and played it for the class. We listened to it together as owner-chef, Roy Choi told the correspondent,
You have all these neighborhoods now where people come out when they usually just got in their car and went to a mini-mall. Now they’re coming out to their streets, talking to their neighbors.
Here is a little video report on it. This is just a brilliant example of social networking spilling out of the virtual realm.
As a chef, I always think it’s the food, but I think without Twitter it wouldn’t be anything, because I could have made these tacos, but I would have had no one to sell them to.
Meanwhile, the DVD player froze, and I had to revert to the older (more reliable?) technology of the VHS player to show the third film. The experience reminds me of the Radiohead song, ‘Videotape,’ which describes a man who reaches the end of his life lamenting that all of it is recorded on outdated media. (Which, in turn, reminds me of the Variety headline: ‘VHS, 30, Dies of Lonliness.’)