Beer degrees of separation, or, why I love social media!

July 9, 2011


I interrupt my intended topic for this evening (which was to have been a report on my recent side-by-side comparison of my four favorite India Pale Ales) for a different, though still beer-related, narrative—the in-depth explanation of today’s freaky (in a good way) events which came to light due to the purchasing by two involved parties of Odell Brewing’s new special edition Woodcut No. 5 Belgian-Style Quad Ale.

The story begins innocently enough. I realized that I could follow my favorite businesses on social media to get inside scoops. I followed one of my local booze huts, Zipp’s Liquors, on Twitter. At some point, I must have gotten an @ reply to a comment or question about whether they carried something. My beer friendship with Tyler was born, because he’s very responsive with the tweets.

My California friends (you know, Rob and his circle; Rob, who used to go to Saint Sabrina’s to get pierced with Lauren; Lauren who instigated my actual getting of my rabbit tattoo) turned me on to Instagram. This is the part I really don’t remember—who betweeen Tyler and me found the other on Instagram, but we did.

Instagram plays faster and looser with your associations, because you see what your contacts have liked, and then it’s real easy for you to get carried away and start liking some of the same photos, and the next thing you know you’re following people you’ve never heard of. That’s how I connected with Jason. I began to notice that Tyler frequently liked Jason’s photos and that they usually involved beer. As you know, I love beer. So I began liking Jason’s beer photos and the next thing you know, Jason and I were following each other. And Tyler followed Rob, so I guess we’re even!

Then I got bold and followed Jason on Twitter, keeping my remarks by and large beer-related (though he is a creative like me, and I wish I had the time to start the morning with sketching). Today it transpired that Jason asked Odell Brewing when the Woodcut No. 5 was coming to Minnesota. Odell Todd replied that it should be here, then Tyler said he got it in at Zipp’s today. I said I’d be over after work. Jason said he’d be by after work. I was hoping we’d end up there at the same time so that we could introduce ourselves. No such luck.

I got home with my Woodcut and snapped the requisite self-portrait for proudly posting online—artfully posed in front of my wall of woodcut art that I’ve made myself, but not gotten all framed—though I never got around to uploading it to Facebook because I got distracted by being outside for an hour and a half yardening. At exactly the same time that I tweeted my photo, Jason tweeted that he had arrived home to find that his awesome wife Lisa had a Woodcut waiting for him. I was overcome with excitement for both myself and him, so I tweeted kudos directly to Lisa, who at that point was not a Twitter contact with me in either direction.

That’s when the Beerlight Zone revved up.

Lisa immediately followed me which tickled me because Jason hasn’t yet, which I thought he might by now but which doesn’t bother me that he doesn’t, because I can be stingy about accepting new contacts myself and I totally get it. Nevetheless, it pleased me to reciprocate with Lisa. And then the darnedest thing happened.

When you follow someone new, Twitter helpfully suggests a couple other people who it thinks you might like. Well, damned if one of those people wasn’t Katherine, my former co-worker! I freaked out, in a good way. Katherine left us to move to San Francisco, but we still adore her, and she’s still doing some work for us long-distance.

I immediately got the feeling that I had met Jason and Lisa at a happy hour last summer, in particular, the one that happened after we had an office outing to a Twins game and stopped off afterwards, and Katherine, Karl, and two couples friends of theirs had joined in. But you know what? Anticlimax. In re-envisioning the events just now, I realize that it wasn’t Katherine’s friends but my other co-worker Colleen’s friends and it had nothing to do with a Twins game.

But the freakiness stands. Me -> Tyler -> Jason -> we love beer & Odell -> Lisa -> Katherine -> me.

My parents don’t quite comprehend why I love what they see as impersonally interacting with my online peeps as much as I do. Other people who have rich in-person circles (not all of them, but some of them) don’t quite understand how 92/8 online/IRL (that’s just an estimate) can be just fine by me. Tonight’s occurrence shows part of the reason why. Well, at least it does to me.


Incidentally, I did not pop the cork on my Woodcut No. 5 tonight because it was not chilled when I bought it and also because, after yardening in 85F/30C temperatures, the nice, light Southern Tier Hop Sun was just what the doctor ordered. I’ll probably have the Woodcut on a Saturday night when I can make a nice meal to go with it (though not tomorrow because I’m making a curry and I don’t think it would pair well with that, and not next Saturday because I’ll be at the Twins game). Jason said it’s good. It’s Odell, so I assume that much on faith!

One Response to “Beer degrees of separation, or, why I love social media!”

  1. Katherine Says:

    Kelly! Yay Internets! This is such an awesome post. Love it 🙂

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