Five Ways for Historians to Use Twitter






What are history organizations, museums, and others who work in history doing on Twitter? They’re starting conversations, advertising jobs, sharing research, and much more. Whether you want to join the conversation, or just follow along, read on for five ways you can use Twitter.

1. Follow Organizations
Going to the archives for a research trip? See if they have a Twitter feed. It’s a good way to get updates (like early closings), see highlights of their collections, get research tips, and ask questions of staff. For example, the Library of Congress (@librarycongress on Twitter) recently tweeted about the new Poet Laureate Philip Levine, the National Archives (which has numerous Twitter feeds) noted an upcoming lecture last week, and the Folger Library posted a video on handling historic documents.

2. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a combination of the pound sign and text used on Twitter to find similar tweets. They can be very general, like #history or #archives, or more specific, like #19thamendment. Hashtags are also a way to associate yourself with a group, like #twitterstorians, which Katrina Gulliver created over a year ago in an effort to find fellow historians on Twitter.

3. Tweet (and Retweet!) a Conference
The AHA has encouraged the use of specific hashtags for the last two AHA annual meetings: #AHA2010 and #AHA2011. Meeting attendees use these hashtags in their tweets, or search by them to hear what fellow participants are saying about the meeting. This coming January, use #AHA2012 for the Chicago meeting to keep up-to-date with announcements, thoughts on sessions, and other AHA annual meeting news. Many other organizations feature similar hashtags for their conferences. For example, the Modern Language Association is using hashtag #mla12 for its upcoming annual convention.

4. Share Resources
Stumble upon new resources by following a variety of historians and history organizations. They’ll lead you to digitized documents, blogs, and interesting articles. We were pleased to see AHA Today mentioned alongside the Preservation Nation and Off the Wall blogs in a tweet from @NCPHconsultants the other day.

5. Search for Jobs
You may be surprised to learn that Twitter is another way to find jobs in history. Search for “#jobs #highered,” “#jobs #professor,” “#jobs #museum,”or search with terms appropriate to the field you’re interested in. You may even come across a position for a historian who tweets (like the example below).

We invite you to follow the AHA’s Twitter page (and deputy director Robert Townsend’s), if you’re not already doing so. Whose Twitter feeds do you follow? What are your favorite types of tweets? What tips do you have for those new to Twitter? As always, let us know in the comments.



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