A friend on FB posted an observation I’ve had over the years. His insight is on FB groups, photos of the same subject matter from nearly the exact same vantage will garner scores upon scores of “likes,” where photos of new subject matter from New vantages go nearly unnoticed.

“Why?” he asked. Why do people “like” the same old same old?

I wish I kept track of his post because there was a lively discussion on his page.

Anyway, I have an answer:

People like what they recognize, and people enjoy checklists of tourist sites when time is limited.

Think of the Star Wars movies since Disney bought the IP. The first non-Skywalker movie – Rogue One – was an orgy of fan service. Darth, Grand Moff, AT-AT walkers (on a narrow tropical beach), TIE fighters, XWings, and even a freaking uncanny valley Princess Leia. Telling a backstory for which we know will be a successful mission – stealing the Death Star plans. Oh! More fan service! The Death Star!

There was nothing new, just a lot of stuff Star Wars geeks would recognize and clap for.

The same holds true for 66 travelers. Images and locations recognized folks get excited for. And, really, wasn’t that the way of the romantic American roadtrip? Take a photo at the Grand Canyon. Take a photo with the world’s largest ball of twine. Stop in to eat at a place with lots of neon and 66 paraphernalia on the walls. And that 66 logo. Put that on anything you want photographed, says the 66 store owner.

Fan service is one cynical observation. A more romantic take is it’s the shared experience that draws 66 fans together. And this requires easily recognized, easily accessed, and easily scheduled icons where fans can proclaim to each other “I’ve been there! In 1968 with my parents!” Or “I want to go there! It’s on my bucket list!” Or “We should all meet three this September!”

Fan service wins out. I post a lot of “new” and “unique” from our field research, but it never draws the attention of roadies like a photo of recognizable gas pumps at a lauded trading post.

As a kid, I’d go to Disneyland a couple times a year, and something I remember were these “Kodak Moment” signs where tourists could stop and take a photo with iconic backgrounds around the park. The same spot, the same vantage, all that’s different is the family. Tourists recognized the photo op because thousands took a photo at the exact same spot, prompted a “Kodak Moment” sign. Slideshow at home, and family and friends can say “I recognize that spot! My family was there is 1968!”

So, yes, roadies “like” what they recognize, and I get it. Shared experience though common, recognizable photo ops brings folks together.

New stuff posted is novel but not necessary to the 66 road trip.