What does Craigslist’s “free” section say about a city?

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

I’ve been playing with this idea that you can learn a lot about a city/town by what gets posted on the “free” section of its craigslist page. I scanned through the last week of postings and here are some highlights:

-Worn tire (owner says it has 30% of its tread)
-Hospital bed in “excellent condition”
-Cat
Kitchen table and 1 double brass bed. Notable because the ads are written like ee cumming’s poems.
-RCA Colortrak
-Floppy drive that doesn’t work
-Flamingos
(Not Worcester, but close enough.)
-Someone looking for someone to “hold [him] accountable” for working out, which includes checking in via email and creating a “penalty” where he’d “do something unpleasant or something” if he wasn’t keeping up. It’s since been taken down and re-posted on Hartford’s Craigslist page.

I have no idea what this all says about Worcester. Any theories are welcome.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “What does Craigslist’s “free” section say about a city?

  1. Will W. W.

    Absolutely nuttin bout Wusta dude-o!

    That CL search you’re referring to encompasses nearly 710k hicks in central MA J-man.

    Have you looked at other CL localities to relevate the data?

  2. worcestermagazine

    Will W.W.,
    I’ll agree it probably means nothing, I just thought it was a cool experiment. However, I did only pick the ones that were listed as in Worcester, not any surrounding towns in Central MA. (Except the flamingos. That one was too good to pass up.)
    -Jeremy

  3. mike a

    i can just see the city manager and comm moylan selling the idea of flamingos outside city hall as a reason people will go downtown, just like the skating rink was going to.

  4. I tend to go crazy over the people who think they’re really clever by offering free snow (see YSAC for more on that).

    I think the “wanted” posts on freecycle tend to say more about a community. (Like: “Wanted: free car that runs, preferably model year 2003 or younger”; or “Wanted: some brand new electronic toy that just came on the market, because there’s got to be someone out there who has two and is itching to give one away.”)

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