The Dumpling Effect: The Trouble with Coolhunting your Dinner - The Awl

A neat contemplation of a problem I’ve considered, myself. Worth reading in its entirety.

I'm in Chinatown, on my way to somewhere not Chinatown. Chinatowns, in whatever city, or China-strip-malls, in whatever small city or town, are a great place to land before going elsewhere, because they are a zone that exists outside of the context of the neighboring contexts. Good for a deep breath. I take the opportunity to grab a plate of fried dumplings, or “dollar dumplings” as I call them, because in my Chinatown they cost a dollar. They are fast and cheap, plus also they are more delicious than they have any right to be. It's a dumpling house in a quiet corner, and it's a beautiful evening, with the setting sun just so and a volleyball tourney on the school tennis courts across the street just wrapping up, and I wonder to myself, “Should I Tweet how awesome this is? Should I Yelp this particular dumpling shop? Do I Digg it?” And before I can swallow what I'm chewing (awesome delicious fried dumplings) I check myself: “And ruin it?” > >

This is a tiny philosophical problem: when you find the hidden treasure, the off-the-beaten-path-gem, and you are a digital citizen, do you pimp the hidden treasure, or do you keep your trap shut? The cost/benefit analysis is not clear-cut. Publicize the hidden treasure, and you benefit the proprietor of the hidden treasure, but you run the risk of the hidden treasure, through success bought with this publicity, losing some of its hidden-ness and eventually some of its treasurability. Withhold the information, and then you get to have the hidden treasure to yourself, but the proprietor, who surely could benefit from an elevation from hiddenness, does not benefit at all. Plus you pass up the opportunity to claim to have discovered a hidden treasure.

via The Dumpling Effect: The Trouble with Coolhunting your Dinner - The Awl .