Twitter = Potential Resources

Twitter these days seems to be useful for more than just tweeting status updates. As a digital historian it is in my best interest to investigate all the available technological resources–this includes social media like Twitter. Can Twitter be a useful technological resource for a historian? I believe so.

You can find big organizations like the U.S. Holocaust Museum or the Harriet Tubman National Museum. Both are museums that use Twitter to give potential visitors updates as well as to tweet about historical events or facts. They sometimes post videos or photos or newspaper clips to entice the public, I’m sure, but it offers historians like me an additional resource to exploit when doing research. Smaller organizations or institutions include the UMKC History Department and Digital History UMBC. These are academic institutions that use Twitter to share information among colleagues. But anyone can follow on Twitter and have yet another potential resource for research.

I don’t exaggerate when I say that Twitter offers potential resources. In the week or so I had to scour Twitter for other historians to follow (as per our assignment) I came across networks of historians, scholars, techies, geeks, nerds, and just all-together wonderful people, networks, and organizations that offered some kind of potential resource, either for research or inspiration. Yes, inspiration is important. For example, History in Pictures posts awesome historical pictures all day long like this one that was used on a PowerPoint in class recently. Imagenes Historicas is a Twitter group I found in Spanish that also posts historical pictures like this one of a Soviet soldier during WWII forcing a German soldier to march. I love pictures. They offer so many possibilities and if nothing else I can spend hours just looking through all of them for my own entertainment, but, as a historian, they offer inspiration.

These last two Twitter groups I found interesting because they do something so very creative to promote history to the public. WW2 Tweets from 1942 and Tweeting from WW2 tweet the happenings and events from WWII as they happened, as if Twitter were around back then. I think that is so very clever and cool. And, along with the tweets they also post awesome pictures and articles.

I’ve already found inspiration on Twitter, as you can see from the post just before this one. I think, if nothing else, it’s a creative outlet, but definitely not something to be overlooked. I understand that Twitter can be a powerful tool for connecting people and that is priceless.

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  1. #1 by Chris Cantwell on February 12, 2014 - 8:11 pm

    This is great, Emma! As you continue to follow these organizatons, take a critical eye to them. How would you do social media better? That will be a later assignment.

  2. #2 by arndh8 on February 15, 2014 - 5:29 am

    I agree with you about pictures. Seeing something has much more of an impact that reading about it; a photo can take you back in time. That’s probably why I had so much fun going through those photos yesterday.

  3. #3 by High Heels & Howitzers on February 18, 2014 - 6:01 pm

    Two others I highly recommend are History Bizarre (@historybizarre) and Lost Islamic History (@lostislamichist) for highlighting the less known and understudied parts of history. They’re more interactive than some other feeds: History Bizarre accepts submissions, and Lost Islamic History has a coffee table book in the works, if it’s not already published. And, hey, Twitter led me to your class, too. I’m watching to see what I can use for my students in the future.

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