He lives life in 140 characters or less. His eyes dart across dimly lit screens in his self-described man cave. His fingers sweep across broken-in keyboards on a minute-by-minute basis.
It's a Twitter account that came to life. Now it's founder is brought to light.
"My name is Bill Merkel and I am Evansville Watch."
Day in, day out, he keeps vigil by watching, alerting, and posting. He's the man behind the brand and he's a must-follow in the social circle.
"More of just an information source is what I want to be," said Merkel. "I don't want to be a news source. I don't follow up the whole story. I just report what I hear over the scanner. I try to stress that to people that what I report is raw. It's unconfirmed and so many times when they get on scene, it never is what it sounds like it is."
"Do you sit at home and listen to the scanner? A lot of people don't do that."
In the world of social media, clout is measured by the number of followers and influence is measured by the number of fans. In this day and age, getting information on the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.
"There's incidents that go all day long, just to get that information out to the public, just to help their day go a little bit better," said Merkel. "That's the main reason I do Evansville Watch."
"Even if I wouldn't be doing this, the scanner would be on and I'd be listening to it. Why not take the next step, type it and send it all out there?"
Somewhere along the way he skipped a few steps. Launching Evansville Watch with zero followers in 2009, Merkel added a following of more than 20,000 people on Facebook and Twitter combined.
Somewhere in his sea of tweets is the shoreline of where it began.
"That's how i got involved. Mom and her scanner," said Merkel. "She just loved them. Back when I was a little kid, sitting on the front porch, listening and drinking lemonade."
This lifelong affinity for the scanner coursed it's way into Merkel's adult life. The University of Evansville alum became a certified EMT. Now the symphony of the scanner is a daily concert.
"I decided to transfer to another ambulance service called Comaire and that's where I met my wife," said Merkel. "I didn't know it at the time but she was the boss' daughter. Promotion!"
After a failed attempt at Twitter in February 2009, Merkel unplugged himself from the hot social media tool. A few months later, he started Evansville Watch after becoming inspired by other scanner-reporting accounts in larger cities. He decided to give it a shot.
"It was more of a hobby at first but yea, I've grown fond of it," said Merkel. "When somebody says something about it, I get defensive. It's like defending your child."
For this father of three sons, the real world never signs off even when he does. He is committed to this hobby like most people are to their normal jobs. When life gets in the way, he has several silhouettes to post in his place.
"That's how I met them either through email and talk to them on the phone," said Merkel in reference to the half-dozen people who post as Evansville Watch. "You know, talk back and forth on the computer. As I said earlier, most of them I haven't even met."
Until now, very few knew Merkel by name and even fewer knew him by face. But for the Evansville Watch community, the internet provided all the necessary introductions.
"We call ourselves the EW gang, a dysfunctional family," said Merkel. "It really does feel like you do know these people personally and in some cases you do. You just never met them."
There isn't much in social media as constant as the hum and hiss of a scanner. Not much is as predictable as the human condition.
"We've stumbled and fumbled along the way and argued," said Merkel. "I've done some stupid things and deleted some comments I shouldn't have when that's someone's opinion."
"Anytime we get to arguing about something or sharing our viewpoints, we come back to that dysfunctional family at the end. Just one big hug!"
A family is still a family even if it's members haven't met. A Twitter account is still a Twitter account even if it's founder is a silhouette. And life is still life even if it comes in 140 characters or less.
"It really makes me feel wanted and everybody wants to feel wanted. We really do."