By Johnboy Jones
“I just read a peer reviewed article, approved through blind review by the author’s sister, that you can tell the essence of a person’s soul through their last 3 Google searches.
Based on this new knowledge I have acquired, I invite you to share with me your last 3 Google searches, and I will tell you who you really are at your inner core”
This was a post on Facebook from my old college roommate. And ironically, the most popular search around the world is “facebook,” which is even funnier given that you could just as easily type facebook.com into a URL bar. “google” and “youtube” are also popular and likewise amusing.
But this got me thinking – What are people in Bluffton Googling? Is it mundane things like Walmart, Weather and Wordle? Or does Bluffton have a unique Soul?
As a side note, I tried mine finding that I had turned that part of Google off to which I responded to my college roommate “No Soul Found.”
Blufftonian’s Top Google Searches:
“How can I prove bike paths are polluting the May River?”
These folks obviously live in the Alljoy area where they have been fighting the installation of bike paths for over 20 years. (*I recently saw this again as a Facebook discussion – but I remember it from way back ) And it’s good for water-quality that in that part of the river by the Calibogue Sound the tidal flush is so large (salinity kills bacteria) that the amount of pavement and dirty run-off isn’t as much of an issue as it is in the Buckwalter Area – which directs stormwater run-off into the headwaters via Stoney and Rose Dhu creeks.
Immediately after things started being developed on Buckwalter oysters in the headwaters became inedible. The people in Alljoy know this as most of them are “been heres” who just want to be left alone – and who could blame them? Certainly not me … but, I am also a bicycle interloper who rides everywhere there is no gate – which gets me the occasional dirty look despite the fact that over the past 35 years I have replaced 50% of my blood with cooking oil and grits. I guess the Alljoy folks will have to explain the real reason they don’t want bike paths.
The next most popular search is:
“Restaurants near me” — This doesn’t make us unique until you look into the nature of local eats. When my daughter was little Nickle Pumpers was about the only thing in Bluffton. There was also the old Piggly Wiggly but not much else. We used to take Sunday Afternoon trips to the Savannah Mall and then go out to eat. Nowadays, we have a ton of options – which is awesome. I sometimes call this era of Bluffton’s History – “Bluffton’s Schmaltyz Renaissance.” Things are pretty good right now – especially restaurants – but at the same time a way of life is definitely being lost. There just aren’t that many places that have grown as fast as Bluffton and it’s a shock to the culture – and I think we all know what the traffic is going to look like here in 5 years.
I remember volunteering with the Rotary Club at Mayfest making french fries in their food truck and seeing that the woman from Eggcentricity had a urinal strapped to the electrical pole on the corner … and the laminated 8.5″ x 11″ message in the urinal in bright blue and green lettering was “Yankee Drinking Fountain.” — And I had been here long enough to know that the proper response to something like this is “Bless your heart” although I like the NY version better. But it just goes to show, that even on the day Blufftonians should be rolling out the red carpet – there’s some bitterness there – even if they really aren’t sure why.
Which brings us to the all-revealing third in the series of top 3 Google searches that make up Bluffton’s soul … “What is a Blufftonian?”
The existential search for Bluffton’s soul continues – and will continue as long as our growth is exponential. We get new neighbors everyday, and I for one welcome them. Where I came from the weather sucked, but the schools were great and the graduation rate was 93%. The taxes were high, but you got something for your money. The Public Works Department did an awesome job and there was very little crime. The Police Department didn’t seem like it was in a constant state of limbo like it does here. There were tons of parks and community pools and it was safe to ride your bike on the street. I guess Bluffton’s soul is now part Yankee. I don’t care if taxes go up as long as I finally get something substantial for my money.
And I think, like everywhere the soul of a place is found in the collective goodness of the community. That’s a little bit hard to find here sometimes but there are tons of great folks doing what they can to make Bluffton just a little bit better. And I for one, hope they succeed more in the future than they did in the past.