Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Googling Appalachia - We're Number 152!!!!

Coal Camp, near Grundy, Virginia (Circa 1970)
(Image from "Revisiting the Appalachian Coalfield", from the Alicia Patterson Foundation, an organization that supports something rare and valuable - high-quality journalism)
This blog is about, you guessed it, Appalachia. If you’re a frequent reader, you know this definitively – if you’re a new reader, well, you probably guessed it from the name of the blog. Or that little doohickey up at the top. Whatever.

Well, if you know much about blogs, you know that most blog operators/writers/administrators are obsessed with knowing their work is 1) being consumed (read/seen) and 2) being linked. I know, I know, it is petty, but ask any serious blogger about their philosophies on pinging, Technorati, del.icio.us, and so on, and you’re in for an hour long rant, almost universally. I myself have, occasionally been addicted in just such a way.

That is how I found myself on Google, doing searches for our blog. Sure, I did the normal bit – I typed in “Hillbilly Savants” and, unsurprisingly, found, well, us. But then I was like, hell, I wonder how deep into the search term “Appalachia” I’d have to get to find the ol’ HS.

Fifteen pages in, at the 152nd entry, there we were.

At first, I’ll admit, I was a little sad. Sure, we’re young, but hot dog if we don’t write a lot about Appalachia. Then I remembered that key point – we are young, and we aren’t linked remotely as much as many of those sites which have preceded us. Humbled, I declared “kudos” to the television and took a sip of diet, caffeine-free soda (brown, bubbly water).

Time passes, leaves fall, the ages of humanity slip away like water through a sieve. Nearly half an hour passed as I watched that episode of Scrubs, but I hardly felt any older at all. Why? Because an idea had begun to dawn on me – something simple, elegant, and nifty. What if I cruised through the 151 sites which appeared prior to our own and picked out a few that warrant consideration? Then my time on Google wouldn’t have been entirely a failed narcissistic absurdity. Er. Yeah.

Thus, without further ado – a selection of sites that show up when you type “Appalachia” into Google. Go crazy.

1. Wikipedia: “Appalachia – This one is hardly surprising. The all pervasive Wikipedia’s influence on the Google engine is both undeniable and indisputable – and this article, while not perfect, is gradually shaping into something pretty solidly decent.

2. Appalachian State University – Yosef rules.

3. National Geographic: “Discover Appalachia” – Arguably the most influential pro-Appalachian tourism advertising supplement on the web ever. Ever.

5. The Appalachian Regional Commission – The Feds do Appalachia. And no one in Appalachia ever hears anything about it (as opposed to the TVA).

11. Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site: “Appalachia in Children’s Literature” – Worth a look, even if it makes your back prickle.

15. H-Appalachia: Appalachian History and Studies – A message board on the social sciences and humanities in and of the mountains. I might have to subscribe.

22. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Appalachia’s War” – A three-part series on the history of the “war on poverty” in Appalachia.

33. The Celtic Republic of Appalachia – A site about folks of Gaelic persuasions in Appalachia. Huzzah!

42. Wired News: “The ‘Lost Tribe’ of Appalachia – A major tech magazine tackles the genetic code of one of our original folk, the Melungeons.

45. Appalachia Reads - An NGO doing good things. Hell yes.

85. The Mountain Institute: Appalachian Program – An over three-decade old program emphasizing education. Neat.

86. Alicia Patterson Foundation: “Revisiting the Appalachian Coalfield” – A photoessay on, well, coalfields.

104. Anarkismo: “An Anarchist Communist Strategy for Rural, Southern Appalachia” – Flying the black or red flag is still illegal in West Virginia – unconstitutional? Sure. Telling? Definitely.

110. Righteous Remnant: “Jewish Survival in Appalachia – A brief, but quality consideration. Worth a look-see.

112. McClung Musuem: Textile Art in Appalachia – One of my favorite museum exhibits at the McClung ever. . . wish it was still available. Ah well, thank the Deity for the net.

115. Technorati: Appalachia – Blogs talking about Appalachia. Watch this space for this entry.

124. Appalachia High School – You’ll never, ever, ever guess where this is.

125. Wired News: “Appalachia: Where Net Trails Off” – Yet another Wired article. Intriguing – I didn’t know they loved us so much.

131. The Town of Appalachia – The New Orleans of deep southwest Virginia.



John L. Kerns said...

You're right. I did not correctly guess where that high school is.

CSL said...

pinging? del.icio.us? Suddenly I feel like a sham blogger because I have no idea what these mean and in spite of being prone to ranting, wouldn't even know where to start. Except I'm guessing that second one is a joke.

Interesting list, I'll have a look at some of those. I think 152 is pretty good given the bazillion sites out there. And, hey, what's Canada doing intruding on our turf?