This is probably the longest break I’ve taken from blogging in two years, but it’s been for a good cause. This Sunday, March 13th, I’m speaking on Social Media: 18th Century and Today, as part of a Winter Lecture Series, hosted by the Friends of Minuteman, in Lexington, MA. On top of my day job and family obligations, my plate’s been very full, getting ready for this talk.
The talk compares social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to the main communication vehicle available to New England colonists–the New England tavern.
I began thinking about the talk, a couple years ago at a digital media conference, when I heard Steven Johnson compare Twitter to the seventeenth and eighteenth century coffeehouse.
At the time, Johnson’s comments about the coffeehouse dovetailed in my mind, with the similar function served by the New England tavern, which I’m familiar with both as a native North of Boston, as well as through the strong interest in New England taverns, instilled by my father, retired Park Ranger Historian Douglas Sabin, who worked for many years at Minuteman National Historical Park, in Concord, MA.
Mentioned by David Hackett Fischer in Paul Revere’s Ride, as the living expert on the opening day activities of the American Revolution, my father has been a wealth of information about the New England tavern.
When we first started discussing my proposal for the March talk, the Egyptian Revolution hadn’t started yet. So it’s really an amazing bit of serendipity that all the themes I’m discussing on Sunday about social media as a communication vehicle, similar in purpose to the New England tavern as a hub for information and planning, were played out so powerfully on the world stage, this winter.
As an aside, I’m especially indebted to the History Department at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA, for the tour this weekend, as well as all the detailed information about tavern life, throughout the long history of the beloved New England landmark, so closely connected with Longfellow’s Tales from a Wayside Inn and entrepreneur Henry Ford’s historic preservation.
Okay. That’s what I’ve been up to. I’ll surface, I’m sure, after Sunday.
In the meanwhile, hold down the metaphorical tavern for me here, okay? and maybe cruise by some of my older posts? Thanks, too, for dropping by and for sticking with me, during this interesting, but very busy time.