One of the most prescient ideas I have ever heard about West Virginia came from Don Rigby at RED a few years ago. To paraphrase: West Virginia's biggest identity issue was not a negative one held by outsiders, but rather that to many people across the US and world, there is none at all.
This blew my mind. I've always been sensitive to WV jokes and cringed after big victories by the 'Eers when I lived in LA because of the inevitable couch burning and even more inevitable verbal abuse I would take at the office the next day. My only hope was that a taunter would hail from Detroit so I could respond with a remark about couches being less expensive than cars.
But while some negative stereotypes exist, particularly in bordering states, the larger issue remains that most people just don't know anything about West Virginia. ("You're from Western Virginia?") With the wonders of the internet, we simply have no one to blame for this but ourselves. Amazing things are happening all around us - and many of us are taking an active part in trying to create the great - that's why you're interested in Create WV, right? The opportunity to craft an image or images of our state are all around us.
A Place to Start
I found one such place today. While reading one of my favorite sports authors, Joe Posnanski, he shared a link to his wife's new blog. She originally planned on using it to learn about the world with her daughters, when she realized that there was so much to learn still about our great country:
"Originally I planned to pick a new country every one or two weeks and share books and recipes and other Web resources that highlight each country. Then I started thinking about Chicken-Fried Steaks. If you grew up in Kansas you can already picture this dish with a thick and peppery gravy. It seems to be the quin-essential Kansas dinner. So before venturing to all parts yet unseen by my family (like Turkey, I really want to travel to Turkey) I want to focus on food stuff and stories of all 50 states. That's where you can help! Leave me comments on recipes and stories that highlight your state!"
Make Your Mark Today
What a perfect opportunity to start shaping opinions about West Virginia in one little part of Kansas. I'm going to go digging out my old Wheeling Jr. League Treat Yourself to the Best cookbook for my dad's pig roast recipe and start there. If you want to join in the fun, just click here and leave a comment on Margo's post.
- Justin Seibert, Direct Online Marketing