Tweeting History: The New York Times covers historical reenactments on Twitter this week with a story about@RealTimeWWII, which has grown to more than 15,000 followers since it started this past August. Alwyn Collinson, a recent Oxford University history graduate, has been live tweeting the events of World War II as they unfold in real time.
Collinson tells the Times the idea is to let followers experience how the war felt to ordinary people:
“I still get dozens of tweets every day from people who say, ‘I forgot I was following World War II, and I suddenly thought the Germans were about to invade Holland,’ ” Collinson said. “That’s exactly the effect I want: to convey the fear, the uncertainty, the shock. That’s what it was like for the people who lived through it.”
We’ve written previously about using Twitter to bring history to life for students (see tweeting the Civil War), and the Times has a few other great examples, including @1948War, which tweets the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Educators may want to check out twhistory.com, whose tagline is, “Those who forget history are doomed to re-tweet it.” You can browse past re-enactments and get guidance on starting your own.
The Short Form: I wrote about Twitter’s burgeoning literary community when we covered the medium’s fifth anniversary earlier this year. The community is growing – from poets to social media theatrics. The National Writing Project has done a great job of highlighting uses of Twitter in the classroom specifically for teaching the art and craft of writing.
I like this new collection on its Digital Is site called The Short Form. Curated by Paul Oh, it demonstrates the value of learning to write 140 characters at a time.
In this resource post from Keri Franklin, director of the Ozarks Writing Project and assistant professor of English at Missouri State University, she equates learning to tweet with learning to write and to read. “I learned as much about audience, purpose, conventions, and handling writing apprehension as I have learned from writing much longer pieces,” she says.