Twitter Chat Transcript: No More "White Elephants"

Posted on: September 12th, 2012 by Sarah Heffern 2 Comments

I learned something interesting on last week's #builtheritage Twitter chat: So-called "white elephant" buildings are not just an issue for preservationists in the United States. Historic building advocates from Canada, the UK, and Turkey all actively participated in the conversation. Happily, everyone seemed to have as many great examples of saves as they did of buildings in need of saving.

While much of the chat centered around the planned questions, there was also an active side conversation on the language we use when we talk about hard-luck buildings, and how we might be able to do better just by changing the way we speak about them.

Case in point: Rather than call the buildings "white elephants" -- which places the blame for a building's state on the structure itself -- why not instead call them something like "buildings in need of creative solutions," which empowers a community to think differently about them.

Here are some highlights from the chat:


There were too many success stories share to include them all in the slide show above, so here are links to more of them:

And, of course, there's a full transcript available if you want the complete scoop.

Save the date: Our next chat will be Wednesday, October 3 at 4:00 EDT. We’ll be chatting about window rehab with the Preservation Green Lab.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

Social Media

2 Responses

  1. Lloyd Alter

    September 12, 2012

    I just feel awful about that first tweet, four minutes into the tweet fest, hijacked the whole thing.

  2. Sarah Heffern
    Sarah Heffern

    September 18, 2012

    Oh, no worries – I think it opened up a really important conversation, which is really the goal of the chats!