Using Social Media to Celebrate Historic Buildings

For almost as long as social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram have been in existence, users have had a morbid fascination with examples of derelict and destroyed architecture. Social media, however, can be more celebratory of the past.
November 20, 2014, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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In a New Yorker article from earlier this week, Alexandra Lange argues for a pivot in how preservation advocates use social media. Lange's argument commences from a discussion of the popularity of "destructoporn," to use the term from Urban Dictionary. Lange writes: "The '–porn' nomenclature suggests pleasure, but I find none in these updates. Each demolition angers me because we systematically undervalue our architectural heritage of all ages…"

Lange suggests that the power of social media has only been partially tapped for the sake of preservation. "The dailiness, even hourliness, of social media makes it a perfect vehicle for documenting each thump of the wrecking ball, each crunch of the backhoe. Its visual slant is ideal for activism wrapped up in pictures."

As for a new direction for the images of preservation activism, Lange writes, "[you] can fight renderings of a hypothetical new building with sympathetic photography of the misunderstood old one, or make your own pretty pictures in pixels with ideas for adaptive reuse."

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Published on Monday, November 17, 2014 in The New Yorker
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