Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Lost Wallets

Lost wallets are apparently their own literary genre - according this Slate article. The author has an interesting hypothesis on why stories such as this have come to prominence in the age of the web :

In the past, these kinds of oddities occasionally became national news, but they generally stayed local and were eventually forgotten. Within the cloistered little villages of local media, every return of a long-lost wallet could stand unchallenged as a breathtakingly singular event. But in age of the Web, these lesser miracles are now aggregated, archived, and searchable. With a little persistence, you can spend a whole afternoon reading long-lost-wallet stories. But the more long-lost-wallet stories you read—the further your perspective zooms out from that of the people actually living them—the more you see the themes and details repeating themselves.
An otherwise odd or trivial things when aggregated, archived and rendered searchable become imbued with significance that is quite different from what they possessed in isolation. This is not only true about lost wallets but every other long tail phenomenon that is able to carve out its genre or sub-genre.

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