Who Should I Follow on Twitter and What Should I Do Once I Follow Them?

29 Dec

Twitter iconWhen you’re first getting started on Twitter, it can be a bit overwhelming.  There are millions of users, and it seems that among the babble, there is little of use to professional historians.  However, there are hundreds of so-called “Twitterstorians” who have created a robust and active community over the past several years (click here to read about one new user’s experience).  These Twitterstorians include graduate students, university-based historians, public historians, curators, and more.

#Twitterstorians is a hashtag created by Katrina Gulliver (@katrinagulliver)  in 2009.  Since then, it has become the de facto hashtag for general history conversations on Twitter.  It has been joined by others such as #histsci, which focuses on history of science, and #dhist, which focuses on digital history.

While there is no comprehensive list of historians on Twitter, there are a few useful resources online.  Katrina Gulliver keeps a running list of Twitterstorians on her blog.  The London School of Economics has created an edited list of academic tweeters.

Below are a few things that you can do to get yourself started as a public historian on Twitter.

  1. Following relevant hashtags is a great way to find out which historians are active on Twitter and who you might like to follow.  Follow #twitterstorians, #dhist, and #digitalhumanities and familiarize yourself with the conversations taking place on each of the threads.
  2. Create a Twitter list of institutions to follow.  To get you started, you should follow @ncph, @AHAhistorians, and @ProfHacker.
  3. Begin following 20 individuals on Twitter.  A good way to find people is to see who is posting on #twitterstorians.

Once you begin following a few people and institutions, pay attention to how they are using the system and participating in the community.  This is one of the best ways to learn about the unwritten codes of conduct that emerge in Twitter communities.  There are lots of useful tutorials on the web.  Below are three short and useful guides for the Twitter newbie.

  1. Elisabeth Grant, “Five Ways for Historians to Use Twitter,” in AHA Today (16 August 2011). 
  2. London School of Economics, “A guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities.”
  3. Have a look at the details on etiquette at “100 Serious Twitter Tips for Academics” (21 July 2009).

Please add your suggestions and tips in the comments section below.

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3 Responses to “Who Should I Follow on Twitter and What Should I Do Once I Follow Them?”

  1. Anita Lucchesi January 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    Reblogged this on Historiografia na Redee comentado:
    Nice post by Jason M. Kelly (@jason_m_kelly) about Twitter for our academic community.
    He is interested in Digital Public History! Let’s stay tuned with his blog.

  2. Anita Lucchesi January 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Hi, Jason! I rebbloged your post on my blog, but I didn’t like so much wordpress’s layout for reblogging. Anyway, I found your blog just zapping on Twitter. Last year I’ve been out of Twiiter but I feel it will be indispensable this year. Otherwise, it will be hard to get start a conversation about Digital and Public History in Brazil (pt). Thanks for posting! Be back in Twitter is being really overwhelming.

    • 6500jmk4 January 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks, Anita. Welcome back to Twitter. Please feel free to send me any suggestions or comments.

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