Hungry for a hobby and swelling with hometown pride, Paul Merrill started researching Minneapolis history five years ago. With the help of eBay, he collected stuff like old postcards and hotel keys.
“I started to explore my relationship with Minneapolis,” said Merrill, who grew up in the Northeast neighborhood and now lives in Robbinsdale with his wife and two daughters.
Three years ago, Merrill turned his attention to the Internet, publishing Minneapolis-flavored ephemera on the social blogging site Tumblr. Stuff about Minneapolis feels like a makeshift museum, teeming with everything from modern news items and crowd-sourced photos to outdated maps.
In terms of original content, Merrill doesn’t create much: When he posts his own photos, they’re pictures he took on his cell phone. And he rarely writes more than a few sentences, if he writes any.
Most of the posts on Stuff about Minneapolis are reblogs of what other Tumblr users have posted.
“There’s not a lot of magic to what I do,” he said.
But Merrill’s blog serves a purpose: It’s a go-to for more than 3,000 followers who want an aggregation of Minneapolis-centric stuff.
A lot of people treat Merrill like a cultural navigator, asking him for his opinion on anything and everything. “Hey, my friend’s turning 21,” followers ask. “Where should we have a drink?”
“It’s cool,” he said. “But I don’t have all the answers.”
Hey, I know this guy!
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