Thing 2: Some of us are trying to raise kids here, and we’ve got plenty of cultural self-loathing to fight already, thanks.
— comment from Techno-Files, or Why I Learned to Hate the Coast
There’s a certain Appalachian small townie-ness that has come to the Web, a place built on instant communication, community and conversation. It’s subversive.
I know this because I’ve had a front row seat to the massive chaos this interconnected, hyperlinked world inflicted on business. I know this because there are scores of books about the phenomenon of conversation, of reputation, or goodwill on the Web. I know this because I’ve watched gigantic industries – music, news, television, movies – crumble under the weight of the conversations that happen online.
I’ve reported from the front lines of this transformation: at Wired, at Wired.com, at Technology Review. Yet it’s always struck me as rather pedestrian, this change, because it didn’t feel much different than what I’d been experiencing for year.
Where I’m from, news always traveled fast. Bad news traveled faster. Scandalous news was like a wildfire. There was no stopping it. You might complain about it. But people know your business. And no matter what you say about that little bit, you know their business too.
These are not traits specific to Appalachia, or to my home town in Loveland, Ohio (Clermont County for those of you who want to argue my Appalachia heritage). It’s disingenuous for anyone to claim their region is particularly different than any other region, although it’s certainly something we do. I suspect as you read, you’ll be inclined to tell me stories about just how much better (or maybe worse) your home town is from mine. And I suspect you’ll be right.
But if we’re kindly about it, you’ll let me tell my story anyway. Humor a storyteller.
This story starts exactly the way I hope no story starts. With an end.