When researching your new location, in addition to government sites and newspapers, information on search engines on topics near and dear to your heart and esoteric information that you find intriguing, check out the social media sites Facebook and YouTube.
As always I suggest researching the state and region prior to the small city or town to which you are planning to move. Knowing the state’s images of itself through the various groups and people helps to contextualize the particular small town in which you are interested, especially if the town is not impacted by another nearby state or region. A town geographically centered in the middle of the state of Iowa should reflect the state’s overall cultural and social persona more so than one on the border between Iowa and Minnesota. Western Oklahomans are much different in temperament than eastern Oklahomans and both are psychologically miles apart than those in the small towns south of Oklahoma City.
Perhaps you might literally want to reside in Accident, Maryland, which according to information posted on Facebook is a small town of 325 residents in the extreme northwest corner of the state, sort of smack dab in what is a dogleg or sorts, or at least its tail. Accident is closer to Pittsburgh then it is to Maryland, which should suggest a sort of mixed allegiance, but one will have to read historical data to be sure.
If we first perform a state search on Facebook for Maryland, a multitude of sites pop up, including one for Maryland State Jobs, Maryland Arts Council, police, sites for those running for office, The Bar Association, etc. Any which way you can view the state of Maryland from a distance if available, even if it seems as if only the tip of an elephant’s tail is wagging.
There is a Facebook site for Western Maryland, the location in which Accident, Maryland, is a part. Before I clicked on it, I assumed that site was touting the perks of that region of the state; however, it concerns separating western Maryland from the rest of the state–forming a new state. A curious note: Back in the good old days of Puritanism, Maryland was a place of refuge for those who did not kowtow the Puritan party line, a home for dissenters, freethinkers, Catholics, etc., a hodgepodge of peoples that resulted in more than one internecine skirmish. The Western Maryland site suggests that ideology is still present. It also suggests that those who live in Western Maryland possess very different ideological views than those in the densely populated eastern part of the state.
But speculation is not proof. One must obtain as much information as possible before making assertions, and then any conclusions drawn might still be erroneous.
On Facebook, we find out that in Accident, Maryland, there is Husky Power Dogsledding, and other kennels, numerous cafes, even catering, a grocery store, many sport and recreation shops, a consignment shop, senior citizens center, a business called Parole Board, which really is a ski shop, at least two tourist sites, a James Drane House and Negro Mountain, which, according to Wikipedia, has a colorful history. This mile-high mountain seems to be known for rock climbing and fierce weather, but whose name and the name of Polish Mountain, some senators in 2007 wanted renamed. The measure was defeated in 2011.
In spite of the small size, on the surface, the tiny little hamlet appears interesting. We could try out theories, such as there must be dogsledding and rock climbing clubs, and for its small size, the business community must be quite active; for there are numerous Facebook pages promoting businesses. If we are interested in early American history up through the Civil War, this area, as would New England in its entirety, would most likely provide wonderful afternoon and weekend trips.
Now to YouTube. Over 94,000 results, the first of which concerns accidents, truck accidents to be precise, and a state fair accident; although to be fair–no pun intended– most of the accident and lawyer videos seem to center on one or two major incidents. Let’s pretend that I’m a lean, mean rock-climbing machine, and search for information on rock climbing near Accident on YouTube. Very little. YouTube search engines regarding specifics leave much to be desired.
To the Southwest, New Mexico to be precise. On Facebook, boulders and boulders of sites concerning recreation and entertainment, but that should not be too surprising, for we knew before our search that retirees often settle in New Mexico, especially around the Santa Fe area.
But let’s imagine that we are going to work in Albuquerque and that someone suggested that we live in Belen, New Mexico, for it’s a sleepy little hamlet with easy train access to Albuquerque. According to Facebook, Belen has 7313 residents, the name Spanish for Bethlehem. In contrast to Accident, Maryland, very few Facebook pages exist. In fact only 10 compared to the many that emerge when one scrolls and scrolls down on the “See More” feature of Facebook for Accident. Besides a personal page, a private family group, there are two sites for those who graduated in a certain year. From that limited information, finding out what’s in Belen would be quite difficult to discern. One conclusion perhaps–a bedroom community? But then we’ve been told that.
The YouTube results are quite different for Belen than they are for Accident, Maryland. Music, dancing, car shows, mudracing, historical sites, sites devoted to tourism by train: over 25,000 sites popped up when “Belen New Mexico” was inserted in the search feature. Of course, to wade through them all to see which specific ones deal with that small town would take a weekend or two, but the content of what I’ve seen so far indicates a lively place, unaccustomed to boredom.
But that too might be an erroneous conclusion.