Twitterstorians and online persona

In this blog we will be looking at online persona and the group of twitter historians (historians using twitter, not historians of twitter, that is) called “twitterstorians”.  As far as my online persona on this site and on twitter goes, I tend to usually be more of a reader than a writer (though maybe not so much for the blog since a blog requires writing). On twitter mostly I read or skim other people’s posts rather than post my own, though I rarely use twitter anyway, I first created an account because one of my college biology professors mentioned that sometimes he posts class announcements and cancellations on his twitter. A recent “tweet” that I did post that could be historically related was when I replied to Pope Francis’s tweet that said “War never again! Never again war” and asked if he was quoting a previous pope, namely Paul VI (upon doing a google search I was able to find out that the phrase “War never again! Never again war” was used by Paul VI in an Address to the United Nations General Assembly, and I just found out today by google searching again that the text of Pope Francis’s meditation during his prayer vigil for peace this September includes that quote from Paul VI and parenthetically cites that speech to the United Nations). On this blog I mostly use a style that is not too formal but still somewhat formal, with an occasional joke. For my blog entries I try to use a catchy title or an allusion, for example the title of my blog entry “A Tale of Two Sites” is an allusion to the book “A Tale of Two Cities”. As far as using the web to attract attention to my “digital products” or engage with an audience,  I really don’t have much “digital products” (besides my blog posts) or an audience. Theoretically in the future when I have more “digital products” I can draw attention to them by using tags in my blog to increase the chances of the blog post being found by someone using a search engine. To interact with an audience I can use twitter or I can read and respond to comments on my blog as well as comment on other people’s blogs. As other people have said on their blogs, It might be a good idea for a person to have a separate account for personal use and one for professional use.

As far as twitterstorians go, some twitterstorians are Matt Houlbrook and Sam Robinson. Houlbrook mostly posts about his cycling hobby, but he does have some history related posts, such as a link to an advertisement from the 1920s of the “office of the future”.  Robinson seems to be an historian of science (more specifically ocean related science) or perhaps mostly a scientists. Many of his posts appear not to be about history, though he does have one post that mentions “Cold War Science”. Another Twitterstorian is, Robert Taber who describes himself on his profile page as (among other things) a “historian of Haiti & Atlantic Revolutions” and the director of “Mormons for Obama” (in 2012). Among his history-related posts are tweets about a forbes article on slavery’s connection to “modern business management practices” and some “retweets” about Columbus Day. However, it seems that Taber tweets more about politics than he does about history. Actually a lot of the twitterstorians I found post mostly about non-history stuff, which I find a bit surprising given that they using the “hashtag” (#, I always thought it was called a “pound key” but on twitter they call it a “hashtag”) twitterstorians. I guess it makes sense that historians will post about things other then history, since there is more to a historians life than just history just as other scholars have other things in their lives besides their field. Although perhaps scholars would be better off having a separate account dedicated to their scholarly field where they would predominantly post “tweets” pertaining to their field and use a personal account for their other posts. This way it would be easier for people to separate the history-related posts from the non-history related ones.

One thought on “Twitterstorians and online persona

  1. sweepoftime Post author

    Apparently there is a difference in timezone between me and my blog. My blog is saying that it was posted on 3:55 on October 15. As I’m typing right now, my computer’s clock just hit midnight, making the blog about 4 hours ahead of me.


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