Following the AHA’s 126th annual meeting this year on Twitter, through over 4,500 tweets, was fascinating. Attendees, as well as those following along from home, connected with other participants, shared links to resources and thoughts on sessions, and gave a dynamic glimpse into the various events and conversations going on at the meeting.
When Twitter first came online in 2006, many of its critics saw it as a place for inane personal updates. And while that is certainly still the case for some users, Twitter has also developed into a tool for communicating ideas and creating scholarly debate.
The AHA joined Twitter in 2010, and first used an official annual meeting hashtag (#AHA2011) for the 125th annual meeting. While a good number of conference attendees tweeted the meeting in 2011, this year’s Twitter coverage was exponentially larger. Historian Sharon Howard has aggregated and archived tweets using the #AHA2012 and #AHA12 hashtags and made them available here.
Below, see highlights of tweets on digital history and other sessions at the meeting. We also include tweets from followers participating from home and conference-goers at the Modern Language Association’s convention. And find some great new resources from follow-up tweets about the meeting. Click on each image for more information on that tweet.
Not surprisingly, participants in digital history sessions were especially likely to tweet. Participants tweeted about THATCamp over 500 times and session 138 on Crowdsourcing History over 200 times. Here are a few examples of participants using Twitter to prepare for THATcamp, share links for the crowdsourcing session, and connect:
However, it wasn’t just the participants at the digital history sessions who were tweeting. A number of attendees used Twitter to share a live feed of ideas from the film festival, teaching workshops, and a whole variety of other sessions they went to. For example:
Tweeting from Home
Those who couldn’t attend this year’s meeting found they could participate and stay up-to-date by following along from home. Though many lamented how much the tweets made them want to be in Chicago:
The Modern Language Association’s 2012 convention was held concurrently this year with the AHA annual meeting, though in Seattle, and there was some tweeting back and forth between participants, and overlapping ideas from the meetings.
MLA’s Executive Director Rosemary Feal even gave the AHA annual meeting a shout out:
After the Meeting
Now that the meeting has concluded, and participants have had a chance to gather their thoughts and catch their breath, the #AHA2012 hashtag is accompanying tweets linking to articles on the meeting, online resources, and ideas for future projects.
Staff at the AHA enjoyed following these tweets, which provide a window into which topics were most popular and attendees’ feedback on the meeting. These tweets also give us ideas for making future meetings even more interactive and enjoyable.
Historians and Twitter
New to this whole Twitter thing? Learn Five Ways for Historians to Use Twitter.