Archive for category Edgar Snow
My Edgar Snow Social Media Campaign will combine everything I’ve learned through UMKC’s Public History Program thus far, including digital humanities, an introduction to GIS technology, Web 2.0 basics, and take advantage of resources through Creative Commons and Open Access. For that reason, my target audience for this campaign will be prospective additions to UMKC’s Public History Program. This includes, but is not limited to, UMKC students already in the History Department, UMKC students in other departments, students at community colleges, and prospective students not yet in college. For this campaign, the emphasis will be on the fact that UMKC public history students created the exhibit. My aim is to attract college students and prospective college students to the exhibit to showcase the UMKC Public History Program’s digital historian’s work. I think that a program that offers students the opportunity to actually create something with marketable skills can be a very attractive feature and it can also be a ‘hook’ to bring in an overlooked audience. This audience will be drawn to the exhibit for academic and career choice reasons. By attracting a broader, and perhaps neglected, audience the Edgar Snow Exhibit becomes more than just an exhibit–it will turn into inspiration that will draw prospective digital and public historians to our university and therefore, to the resources housed in that university. This includes the Edgar Snow Collection which will be housed in UMKC’s new reading room.
In order to reach my target audience I will be creating a Facebook page and a Twitter account that uses hash tags relevant to Kansas City students. The Edgar Snow Project and Exhibit will be front and center on both of these accounts as a way to advertise the upcoming event and also to showcase the public history student’s work on this project. I’ve chosen to title both the Facebook and Twitter pages The Edgar Snow Project and Exhibit to include the creative process. The idea is to promote UMKC’s Public History Program, as well, so, in addition to the Facebook page and Twitter account, links to other relevant UMKC Public History news and information will be made available through these sites.
As a way to truly showcase the student’s work and process, visitors to the Facebook page and Twitter account will be able to visit the student’s WordPress blogs. This will not only give visitors more information on Edgar Snow, it will give viewers and prospective public history students a glimpse into what they can learn in the UMKC Public History Program. Prospective students and those interested in digital humanities will be able to see a public/digital history course, first hand, through the student’s blog posts. By employing Web 2.0 structure and concepts, The Edgar Snow Project and Exhibit will serve as a platform for the UMKC Public History Program. By promoting one, we will also be promoting the other to bring in a more diverse audience.
Twitter will be the main mechanism of this social media campaign by employing the use of hash tags. Tweets like “Check out the Edgar Snow Project and Exhibit,” and “See what UMKC digital historians are up to,” as well as relevant links will be posted weekly with hash tags such as #mcckansascity or #mccpennvalley. These are a few of the Kansas City Metropolitan Community College’s Twitter hash tags. College students and prospective college students will be directed to the Facebook page where visitors will have access to more information about the Edgar Snow Exhibit, as well as the links to the student’s WordPress blogs. These blogs will continue to be updated on a regular basis and give visitors a “behind the scenes” look, if you will, into the work of a digital historian.
My social media campaign is designed to attract prospective public history students by inviting them to see the work of current public history students. Since the Edgar Snow Exhibit is an actual exhibit that will be live and fully functional, prospective students will get a taste of what they can expect in the UMKC Public History Program. I’ve chosen prospective public history students as my target audience because I think that people who already know who Edgar Snow is and why he is important to Kansas City and UMKC history will not require any additional “gimmicks” to come and see what this project is all about. At the same time, by targeting these potential public history students and offering them a glimpse into the making of this project, younger people–people who might not necessarily be interested in Edgar Snow but might be interested in the technology used to create the exhibit–will become interested in what else the UMKC Public History Program has to offer. The fact that the Edgar Snow Exhibit will be online, I think, will make it more attractive to a younger audience. In this case, by promoting digital history and the latest technology used to create the exhibit–the latest Neatline plug-in, for example–potential students will view the exhibit for inspiration and ideas, and perhaps walk away with a greater interest in digital history that may persuade them to keep the UMKC Public History Program in mind when it comes time for these young students to decide on a major or academic path.
The goal here is to bring in prospective students as well as an audience. My approach puts as much emphasis on the process of creating as on the content itself. In doing this, the Edgar Snow Exhibit becomes a tool for learning about more than history. This approach is interdisciplinary from the ground up because more than just history students will find the exhibit and creative process interesting. While my approach targets mainly college students, it can easily be expanded to include high school students, bloggers, journalists, life-long learners, weekend historians, hobbyists, technology buffs, etc. Additionally, I believe my campaign can also easily accompany other social media campaigns to broaden viewership.
Edgar Snow’s sympathy for the ‘Reds’ led to advocacy. He became a missionary for the Chinese Communist Party by starting the Chinese Industrial Co-operative (INDUSCO) and then asking affluent people to dedicate money to the cause in the name of ending the war with Japan. In this he was quite successful because he equated communism with industrial democracy. (Snow, pp. 198-207) After doing that for several years both he and Nym were tired. She had been living in the Philippines for two years and had already left for America. Edgar followed.
Edgar arrived in the U.S. in February, 1941 and quickly slipped back into an American way of life. He traveled and wrote some, divorced Nym and married Lois Wheeler, wrote his autobiography, and then moved to Switzerland. He didn’t go back to China until 1960, and again in 1970. That last visit he went away somewhat disillusioned with who he thought was a friend, Mao Tse Tung, and the Chinese Communist Party. He did, however, pave the way for President Richard Nixon to enter into China. Unfortunately, he was not alive to see Nixon and Mao shake hands. He died February, 15, 1972.
Snow, Edgar. (1958) Journey to the Beginning: A Personal View of Contemporary History. New York: Vintage Books.
Nineteen twenty-eight was a busy year for Edgar Snow. He had been living in New York for a few years and, having already been bitten by the ‘travel bug’ a couple of times, hopped a ship to Hawaii. From there he stowed away on a steamer to Japan, and then finally made his way to Shanghai–all in one year. And, I say finally only to imply that Snow had arrived in China, but his travels were just beginning.
Nineteen twenty-nine took Snow on a journey all over China where he learned about and saw first-hand the corruption under the Kuomingtang which was, “just a new flag under old warlords.” (Snow, pp. 49) He saw how this corruption affected millions of starving people and he didn’t like it. This trip into China, I believe, was a game-changer for him. Snow was disgusted to see that there was not even an attempt to hide the ugliness behind this fascinating country’s economic and political situation. He began to sympathize with the peasants and students that were fed up with being the shrimp in the Chinese saying: “Big fish eat little fish, little fish eat shrimps, shrimps eat mud!” (Snow, pp. 49) But, the travel bug wasn’t going to let him hang around too long just yet.
Nineteen thirty and thirty-one took him further south to Formosa (Taiwan), Indo-China, Burma, and India where he saw more corruption. I think seeing corruption out in the open was a shock to him, at first. While there is plenty of corruption here in the U.S., it’s kept well out of the public sphere, for the most part. In Asia most officials were comfortable with the oppression they inflicted upon the poor in order to line their pockets. I’ve closed my eyes to try to put myself in Snow’s shoes and I think I would have been shocked and disgusted, too. In Yunnan and Burma he was further disappointed by religious institutions and their practice of manipulation. (Snow, pp. 68-70) Then, in India he met Ghandi and this, I believe, was another game changer.
Ghandi influenced Snow greatly. Even though he claimed to like Jawarhalal Nehru’s approach better than Ghandi’s, he ended up alongside Ghandi as a partisan for the Indian cause. (Snow, pp. 77) He followed Ghandi to Bombay where he met a Communist and learned how Marxism was a religion to Indians. (Snow, pp. 79-80) And, just like Ghandi concluded that India was not yet ready for swaraj, or independence, Snow would come to a similar conclusion about China not yet being ready for civil rights. (Snow, pp. 76, 87) His travels throughout Southern Asia would take him back to China.
Nineteen thirty-two brought Snow a wife, Helen Foster, A.K.A., Nym Wales. They married in Tokyo, however, I don’t see this event as a turning point since little else changed about his life. Traveling was still his first love and his dedication to ‘getting the story,’ trumped a wife any day.
Nineteen thirty-five saw famine and devastation in the Yangtze Valley for twelve million people. (Snow, pp. 136) Another game changer–Snow decided to meet with the “Reds.” He wrote: “…I am very far from being a Communist. I dislike dogmatism and the treatment of Karl Marx’s writing as revealed scripture which cannot be challenged…I also decided, as did Nehru, that whatever the ultimate truth about Russia might turn out to be, as between Nazi-Fascism and Communism my sympathies were with Communism, not of love for its friends but of dislike of its enemies.” (Snow, pp. 138) The student protests and famine prompted him to meet Mao Tse Tung.
Nineteen thirty-six took Snow north to the Red Army where he met with Mao and stayed for several weeks, interviewing him for the book that he would eventually write about him and the Chinese Communist movement. As far as turning points, these are the big ones. After meeting Mao he seemed pretty committed to the Communist cause and the encroaching Japanese only made his decision to side with them that much more rational. I think if I were to try to define Snow I’d have to look at where he’s been and see what he’s seen and, as you can see from just eight short years, he’s seen a lot.
Snow, Edgar. (1958) Journey to the Beginning: A Personal View of Contemporary History. New York: Vintage Books.