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March 17, 2009

Porches, Patios, Self-Expression, Twitter

From 1975 comes Richard Thomas’ From Porch to Patio (PDF) (via kottke), discussing the post-war transition of America from public to private spaces.

This reminds us of Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451. Specifically:

What was it Clarisse had said one afternoon? ‘No front porches. My uncle said there used to be front porches. And people sat there sometimes at night, talking when they wanted to talk, rocking, and not talking when they didn’t want to talk. Sometimes they just sat there and thought about things, turned things over. My uncle says the architects got rid of the front porches because they didn’t look well. But my uncle says that was merely rationalizing it; the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn’t want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches. … Get people up and running around.’

We know Bradbury may not have a strong reputation these days, but read the above quote closely. Think about the decisions made over the last eight years, and the gaming of the press and public that’s been exposed—he may still be more relevant than people realize. No wonder he has a cult.

We’re also drawn to the following in Thomas’ article:

The porch is especially important in context of speed. In an earlier day the viewer riding in a carriage or the citizen walking past the house saw the building for a long time and was well aware of the presence or absence of the residents on the porch.

With the rise of the internet and life online comes a similar need. We often feel that the popularity of Twitter is tied to a very human need, to say “I exist!”. From the earliest graffiti to the latest tweet or post: here I am! I exist.

Twitter is the new porch.

posted at 11:10 AM | find it forever

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