Even if I am an historian by trade, I’m pretty bad as a chronicler or even just as a diarist, and my memory is often even worse. You will thus excuse me if, when @katrinagulliver reminded me that the second #twitterstorians‘ anniversary was today, I had to recur to all the power of the internet to attempt to reconstruct how I got to know of this virtual society which over the last two years has become more essential to my life as an historian than most learned societies have ever been.
But isn’t this in the end what we, as historians, actually do for a living: going to archives in the attempt to piece together how things worked in the past and what memory alone cannot allow us to remember? The fact that in this case we’re talking about just two years ago and that I could (should?) remember what happened is absolutely a secondary issue (I am the living proof that oral history may lead to huge distortions of the past, convinced as I was that I started to tweet not two, as it is, but not more than one year ago).
Luckily enough in the Middle Ages of my twitter experience I had the foresight to start archiving my tweets via Twapper Keeper and am thus able now to tell you that I allegedly mentioned #twitterstorians in my fourth tweet, a couple of months after the hashtag had actually been created by Katrina on her twitterquest for fellow historians and mere hours after I landed on the to me still unexplored Planet Twitter (I have vague memories about having tweeted something also before the recorded tweets, but as stated above, I wouldn’t trust my memory too much).
My first recorded tweet stated ”attempting to understand how far twitter may really be useful for academic networking and discussion”, and now I can answer myself (as if it were a question): pretty much! Actually I learnt it soon if, as it seems, by the end of my first day among fellows twitterstorians I tweeted “I’ve discovered more useful #history links today via #twitter than the last year via traditional browsing+googling”. This trend has never stopped, and a massive part of the help, advice, intellectual confrontation and fun I’ve found on twitter over the last two years is due to the #twitterstorians. You should join! It’s never too late… and it’s free (as in both free beer AND free speech!)
And before leaving be sure to check also the main celebrations on Katrina’s blog. From there you will be able to have a look also at the parties organised on their blogs by other twitterstorians. Enjoy!
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