The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 3, 2009


What about a 4th of July Celebration in Carlisle?

Last weekend’s Old Home Day celebration in Carlisle was terrific! The Old Home Day committee gave their all to the many activities planned for the two-day affair. Starting with the early morning Road Races from the Church Street starting line, followed by the Outstanding Citizens and Conservationist Awards on the Common, the Parade winding through the center of town, the Art Show at Union Hall, the Frog Jumping Contest and Sack Races on the Town Green, the Cake Walk and Chicken Barbecue at the Fire Station, and Sunday’s new Honor Roll Dedication, just to name a few, there was a lot going on in this town. And the weather in general, especially on Saturday, was more than cooperative. We can’t thank Dave and Florence Reed and the Committee enough for making this once again such a special occasion in Carlisle.

Still there is a lingering concern for some of us long-time Carlisle residents, and maybe others, who still associate Old Home Day with the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations that were held here for many years. These days, as I drive down Lowell Road into Concord and read “July 4th Picnic in the Park, Concord” signs, I can’t help but feel we are missing something in Carlisle.

I understand that if Old Home Day was held on the 4th and political floats were allowed in the parade, the Old Home Day Association, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, could lose its non-profit status. But consider the 114-year-old example of the Morgan Hill July 4th Parade in Santa Clara, California. Recognizing the potential threat to its not-for-profit status, the organizing committee has adopted the rule that “no partisan political activity is allowed in the Parade. ... No political campaigning or advertising is allowed.” With a similar strict rule, the Old Home Day Association could return to celebrating on the 4th of July, thus adding a layer of national significance to Old Home Day. Independence Day in Carlisle could then once again be a special day celebrating both town and country.

Birds of a different tweet

“Spring bird walk finds Scarlet Tanagers plentiful, but few other migrants” – reads the headline to last year’s spring bird count on Towle Conservation Land, led and reported by avid birdwatcher Ken Harte. Later that summer he observed a total of some 132 different species in Helen Lyons’ article “Exploring the Towle Field Conservation Land” from August 15, 2008.

Our rural neck of the woods, no doubt, offers a wide range of fauna and flora, both native and migrant, sometime invasive, but mostly essential to keeping an ecological balance in our immediate environment.

In a way, taking a short walk in cyber space today is analogous to taking a nature walk in one of the many wooded sites surrounding us – sans the Bobolinks, warblers or Scarlet Tanagers, more like small numbers of teenagers native to the digital world, and rapidly growing flocks of early adopters, migrants of the global village. The virtual habitat called Twitter is a social network which allows its users to share real-time online updates that are 140 characters-long via their computers or mobile devices.

While birds’ morning chatter is one of the most audible signs of spring, the Twitter messages, or tweets, have been heralding anything from the devastating earthquake in China, to the arrest of a demonstrating student in Egypt, the simmering post-election protests in Iran, or Michael Jackson’s untimely passing, which dominated Twitter’s Trend List throughout last week and drove general web traffic to new heights. The Twitter wilderness is characterized by loosely connected flocks of people who are “following” the message streams of other users. The message stream can run from a personal broadcast to “followers” about one’s opinion on the weather or favorite selection of green tea, to CNN or local WBUR urging their audiences to “follow” them on Twitter, or “friend” them on Facebook.

And much like in the wild, where birds will flock together in masses to establish roosting territories, the Twitter crowd recently willingly, literally followed the “1 million followers” challenge declared between Ashton Kutcher and Larry King over the public media chatter. Guess who won that “race”?

A couple of weeks ago, at the 140 Characters conference in NYC, I interviewed Twitter co-founder and chairman Jack Dorsey about the uniqueness of his networking platform. Asked about the evolvement of “followship” on this service, he explained: “We were on the focus of following the updates …I think that’s very important in terms of the lightness of being that is Twitter,” and adds, “one of the most exciting things about Twitter is the globalness of it.”

He goes on to say that he would “like to see more transparency in the world, more personability … and to do so all in real time, so immediately. That’s what I’d like to see in the world.” Back in March 2006, Jack’s first public tweet read: “Just setting up my twttr,” and the rest is his-story. And, as the Twitter chatter catches on, we (or some of us) are sure to flock and follow..



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