I have this theory that mobile phones are changing our culture in ways that its inventor never would have imagined. And the cell phone has been amazing in many ways, and, I think that they have had some unintended consequences.
The street artist Bansky had something to say about one of those unintended consequences.
Mobile Lovers, street art by Bansky
And I’m wondering what the impact of the culture created around mobile phones has on historic preservation.
With a cellphone culture “immediate and superficial gratification” is taken to a whole new level. It’s a Buzzfeed way of getting information.
What turns up when I search my mobile cell phone for “Newburyport” is Tripadvisor, restaurants and places to shop. The Newburyport Daily News used to be in the top two on a desktop computer. It’s now more difficult to find the Daily News on a mobile device. It’s hard to find detailed local content. It’s difficult to find real meaningful, thoughtful content. Mobile devices are not geared for reading profound and thoughtful knowledge. It’s a Buzzfeed, quick bullet-point, mobile world.
And this has to have some “interesting” effects.
It feels in the new mobile world (which is now global) “new” very suddenly, almost wipes out anything “older.” And sometimes I wonder if people now look at historic homes with the mindset, as something to be replaced, like an old version of an iphone.
If this is remotely true, and the previous post about HGTV and Newburyport losing its patina, is remotely true, historic preservationist need to rethink their approach. They need to adapt.
This is from Bernice Radle (now part of HGTV), a preservationist in Buffalo, NY.
“Few people understand the changing nature of preservation, because our reactionary language looks backward and is architecture-centric. We’ve too often allowed ourselves to be framed by others as nostalgic – seeking to return to the past because we can’t cope with the reality of life today.”
There are so many people scrambling to preserve not only Newburyport’s historic homes, but Newburyport’s story as well. And I think for so many people, Newburyport’s story feels as if it’s being lost, it is slipping away, and they are puzzled and sometimes slightly panicked about what to do.