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  • Kyle Brandon Lee

Bonfires of Niche Communities

I’m guilty of not keeping my computer files organized at any sort of optimal level, even with an

extensive IT background. I’ll shuffle something away and if it is in frequent use, I’ll know where it is. But those older files go into a general folder that gives me only a single mental notification of “SAVE ME” in case I migrate everything over to a new computer. All this to say I went digging through my back log trying to find something or the other. I dare say I found everything I’ve looked for in the last six months except the specific thing I needed. I point this out because I uncovered a random artifact of my past. Twenty-two years or so ago I was a part of a now dead website writing much the same as I do now. Random thou

ghts. Random connections. Random idiocy. None of what I wrote had any sort of reach or audience except for one single piece. At the time, it felt to be the most innocuous of posts but it inspired a backlash that nobody at the website foresaw. Your first car is either a fond experience or an absolute disaster. I loved that I owned a car and I have infinite appreciation to my parents for making it possible. However, it kept breaking down. At times, I’d pick it up from the shop in the morning and take it back by the afternoon. One of my best friends had the same make and model and guess what? Just as many issues. The Ford Tempo. I miss it not. I wrote the equivalent of one to two pages about my disdain for this car, posted it and thought nothing of it afterwards. Then the website started receiving negative reactions from the Tempo enthusiast c

ommunity. Not only did I not know such a community existed, but I was dumbfounded by the fact that such a mildly humorous conversation about my bad experience with a stupid car would cause such a fervor. After much back a

nd forth, I did the natural thing. I stoked the fires with a second post. Obviously, more back and forth followed. Not too long after, the craziness died down and the surge of significance of my posts never reached any sort of heights on that website again. Even as a blip on my radar, the fact the tiniest of things setting something off even twenty plus years ago amused me to no end. Would I actively seek out another niche community to antagonize in order to build my brand? No. There’s too many people u

sing that as their way to get views. There are better ways. I’d rather find those. Still, the Ford Tempo was an awful car.

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