In August 2014 a Decatur, Ga., Realtor had lunch with the executive director of a local history organization. A few hours later, the Realtor was swapping tweets with local cyberstalkers about my impending move back to Maryland from Atlanta.
The Realtor learned about my relocation plans during her lunch. I had confided about the move to a handful of close friends, including the history colleague. The Realtor, mainly because of her past absurd and malicious allegations that I had been stalking her, was one of the people we did not want to know about the planned move. Her communications on Twitter underscored the concerns my wife and I had when we decided to sell our home.
When we put our house on the market the week after the Realtor’s information dump, we instructed our real estate agent to screen other Realtors who wanted to show our Atlanta home. The Decatur Realtor and a handful of other Realtors who regularly work with area builders who have been angered by my writing on gentrification in nearby Decatur were among the people we did not want in our house. Naturally, that goes against the conventional wisdom that home sellers want as much traffic as possible to enhance the chances of a quick sale.
Our 2014 home sale capped almost four years in the Atlanta area. I have written about our experiences in Decatur for several national publications on the way to completing a book about gentrification, racism, and the erasure of history in Decatur. My latest article has just been published by the History News Network and it illustrates our travails dealing with cyberstalkers and other Decatur residents hellbent on protecting their town’s shiny image and their reputations as progressive and liberal folks.