How is the web, particularly social media properties like Twitter, changing the way scholars communicate and form connections with each other? When I first started considering this question after the AHA annual meeting in New Orleans, I had been talking with bloggers and self-described “Twitterstorians” who had expressed concern over the lack of live-tweeting etiquette at conferences and meetings. Intrigued, we responded by crowdsourcing a “Dos and Don’ts of Live-Tweeting” list, but quickly realized that we needed to have a much broader conversation about ethical web practices and the future web environment for scholars.
Today’s What We’re Reading features a re-emergence of the Ithaka S+R report, Wikipedia controversies,” 5 1/2 timeless commencement speeches, and much more.
History in the News
Why Do Historians Insist on Dividing Us?
Sir David Cannadine asks the question in the Chronicle, claiming that while the “idea of the commonality of humanity” is the source of increased study by philosophers, economists, psychologists, sociologists, etc., “Historians, however, have barely begun to engage with this work, or its significance for our understanding of the human condition.”
New Research Tools Kick Up Dust in Archives
The New York Times picks up on the Ithaka S+R report, “Supporting the Changing Research Practices of Historians,” covered by Robert Townsend in the February 2013 issue of Perspectives on History.
A few weeks ago, I asked our readers to help me tackle an issue raised at the annual meeting—the lack of etiquette for live-tweeting. The response to our working draft was overwhelming, but also intriguing (you can read the conversation in totality here). Many of the topics raised by readers intersect with our own Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct, including issues of privacy, attribution, and professional conduct.
Not long after the Modern Language Association (MLA) published its protocol for how to cite a tweet, its executive director tweeted that she’d gotten four calls in one morning from reporters asking about it.* It would be nice to think that this was a demonstration of an abiding concern in the journalism profession on getting it right, and citing it right, but as the MLA statement lays out, even when you want to cite a tweet correctly it can be difficult to do so.
It’s easy to get lost in the millions of messages users send through Twitter each day. Luckily, hashtags (a combination of the pound sign and text used in a tweet) are one way to sort through the din and find the topics you’re interested in reading about. Simply type the hashtag name in Twitter’s search field and you’ll get a list of all tweets that include it.
Hashtags are a great way to connect during a scholarly conference. For example, attendees of the AHA’s recent 126th annual meeting shared thoughts on sessions, offered links to resources, and connected with each other through the general #AHA2012 hashtag, as well as more specific hashtags like #session138 (for a crowdsourcing session).
The Cliopatria blog at HNN recognizes the best history blogging on the web through its annual Cliopatria Awards (given out since 2005). The 2011 awards were expanded beyond blogs to include the best history Twitter feed and podcast. Congratulations to all the winners, listed below. What are your favorite history blogs, Twitter feeds, and podcasts online? Let us know in the comments.
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.
In the news this week, JSTOR is now offering free access to content before 1923, interviews with Jackie Kennedy are released, and Twitterstorians celebrate their second birthday. Read on for two articles on public history, C-SPAN’s new program on past presidential contenders, a man who used his retirement to earn a PhD in American history, and Jennifer Howard’s look at the lineages of scholarship. Finally, look back at September 11, 2001, through oral histories and online resources, and look forward to this year’s Constitution Day with EDSITEment and TeachingHistory.org.