Twitter, where were you when …

Another day, another social media conference. REtechSouth in Atlanta on Friday (3/20/09) aimed its message at the real estate industry, which certainly needs help now. But I found it more interesting and educational than some others I’ve attended. Part of the unique ambience was a musical intro and a living-room setting for panelists. Check my video.

Naturally, Twitter was a topic. But I’ve decided to save details of that for another blog post. Again, I and others “live tweeted” the event, sending out tweets and pics as things progressed. That always makes me feel like a one-person wire service, like in my early newspaper days when I’d stand by the AP machine and read unfolding details of sporting events.
Made me think, what if Twitter had been around 10, 20, 30 years ago? What could I have let my friends (and their friends, and their friends …) know about as they were happening. So, delving into the treasure chest, I’ve come up with some key lifetime events that I wish I could’ve gone online with.

Jimmy Buffett, San Diego State, 1985/92. Not long after moving to the Golden State, I was a little homesick. But I noticed in the newspaper there that Buffett, who I long had followed, was to perform at the outdoor amphitheater. I scored a ticket, and it was a real shot in the arm. Among the highlights was a “sing along” session, where the Coral Reefer Band took a break and Buffett challenged the audience to keep singing when he would stop playing in the middle of a well-known tune.

I also saw him at San Diego State’s Aztec Bowl, the shelved football field, several years later when I was more established there. I loved how he opened  the show by walking onto the stage from a large airplane prop. That was a reflection of his then-thing of flying seaplanes. (Check his song “Jamaica Mistaka” for a related adventure.)

— Bruce Springsteen, Atlanta, 1973. A friend and I drove from Athens, GA, to Atlanta in April to see the noted boys of summer from California, the Beach Boys. The opening act, according to one poster, was “Bruce Springstin.” Well, that cozy gathering of  a few thousand at the now-demolished Omni got a real treat. I was very impressed by Springsteen, and remember “Born to Run” being in the song mix. “You’re dealing with professionals here,” he joked with the audience at one point. Two years later, when he hit the covers of both Time and Newsweek, the whole world knew he was right. (Updated 1/2/2010: this fan site has a brief description of the event, noting that fewer than 3,000 tickets were sold.)

— Game 4, 1998 World Series (Yankees-Padres), San Diego: The Yankees were a steamroller that year, setting an American League record for regular-season victories. The Padres were a one-shot wonder, acquiring pitcher Kevin Brown in a push to win big (and get the locals to vote for a new stadium, which now is a reality). San Diego overcame the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs, but was no match for New York, losing the first three Series games.

I sat in the left-field stands at what is now Qualcomm Stadium as series MVP Scott Brosius got a late-inning double to seal the series sweep. The most memorable part was after the Yankees’ series-winning celebration had ended, the Qualcomm crowd remained and broke into a standing ovation in appreciation of a remarkable season by the home team. The San Diego players acknowledged by coming back onto the field for a curtain call.

— USA vs. Brazil basketball, Atlanta Olympics, 1996. Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill were among the professionals on the second U.S. “dream team.” Brazil put up a good fight in the quarterfinals before falling, 98-75. I remarked to my cousin, who was with me, that Shaq only scored 11 points. “YOU could have scored 11 points on that team,” he told me.

— Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova, Amelia Island, FL, 1985. The event was sponsored by Virginia Slims, which shows how the world has changed. Evert rolled to a 6-2, 6-4 victory in that episode of a long-running rivalry, set near Jacksonville. I was working at the Florida Times-Union newspaper at the time.

Not every tweet is priceless. But who knows what I and the world could have gained by information coming from those events. That’s why I take a camera and iPhone with me everywhere now. I had to go online to check details on some of the events I just mentioned. I don’t want to let that happen again.


About Steve Burns

I live in the Atlanta area. I also lived for many years in Southern California. I'm into mainstream media, social media, sports, business and politics. I worked for AOL's Patch, but this is my personal blog. I'm on Twitter (@bsteve76), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. See ya 'round!
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