So I know I was supposed to finish my series on the ambivalence folks have about social media as a marketing tool for writers. But I've been on vacation the last three days, and I want to write about that instead. And before your eyes roll, I will tell you that it does in fact have to do with what we've been discussing here over the last few weeks.
I'm writing this from Woodstock, NY, where my wife and I went after the SEAK conference for doctors and lawyers who write, in Cape Cod over the weekend. (A fine idea, but the hotel/conference center should be condemned--we walked in and I said "Oh good, just like I asked--they gave me the room with the extra mildew." and it got better from there.)
We love Woodstock, not necessarily for the hippie nostalgia (which is fine), but for the laid back vibe and the good food and the wonderful hike to Overlook Mountain. Most important, though, we love it for the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, which we try to visit (most of the time with our kids) at least once a year. My wife, an ethical vegan, feels very close to the goats, pigs, sheep, cows and chickens which are living out a blissful retirement in the Catskills rather than (100% of the time) being turned into veal or buffalo wings. The kids get a kick out of it because it's a cool petting zoo and because they have a lot of soul. And I love it because I love goats. (I just do--my whole family makes fun of me because I commune with the goats, and they seem to know it, and love me back.)
But when we arrived in Woodstock and called the Animal Sanctuary, they told us that they only let visitors in on weekends--but we could volunteer for a day if we wanted.
Which is how I spent my day today--my LAST day alone with Amanda before we go tomorrow to pick up our daughters at camp--mucking out a rooster coop under the watchful eyes of a French animal activist named Hervé, a ginger tabby cat named Pogo, and three obnoxious roosters we started to refer to as La Cosa Nostra.
This is where the social media aspect comes in (see!): I agreed to do this (although I clearly would have anyway), when Amanda told me she would post on her Facebook page for all to see that her husband is a saint. Who am I to argue? The problem is that Amanda posts on Facebook about as often as Jerry Elias (actually, that's not fair to Jerry), so I'm not holding my breath. But the power of praise on social media is so strong that I was willing to shovel chicken, uh, poop, for four hours for a little Facebook appreciation.
That, and the chance to pet the goats. More next week on somewhat more industry-related subjects.