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Mobile Tours are a Time Machine: Why We Need to Act with Urgency

The huge advantage of mobile technology is that a variety of content (audio, video, pictures, etc.) can be linked to an exact position on earth and consumed on demand by the smartphone carrying tourist. That content can be highly specialized. Multiple languages can be offered, heck, even multiple interpretations of a thing. As I write this, I am Buenos Aires, where the famous La Casa Rosada (The Pink House) has a very different role in Argentine history depending on whether you are from the right or the left, politically speaking. With mobile technology, both views can be offered.

Furthermore, mobile technology creates an opportunity to leverage deep and relevant experience and preserve it indefinitely. Peppered throughout your community are people who know the story of a thing, its provenance, which is its authentic origin, history, and significance. Take, for example, one of those rusting WWII tanks you see from time to time parked in some obscure park. Why is it there? A person like me, who has never seen battle, can tell you the facts and figures about it, but imagine hearing the tank’s story from a WWII veteran who actually served on it, or from a woman who worked in the factory where it was made. A resourceful tour guide will find these people, preserve their voices and their perspectives, and by adding their own unique content, glue all the pieces together into a cohesive narrative.

One final note about people’s stories, and especially those of the so-called Greatest Generation who were adults during the dark years of the 1930’s and 40’s. — If we lose the stories about the aforementioned tank, then it just becomes just a rusted hunk of metal from which there is nothing to learn. Future generations, made ignorant by our neglect, will have it towed away to make room for a Quick-ee Mart, and the soul of our civilization will be impoverished. So I urge you to act, with a sense of urgency, and to etch those stories in modern stone, which is the digital recording from which the smartphone tour draws its compelling power.

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