The history of the human race is full of epic events, monumental moments, and harrowing happenings. As individuals, we often ignore that history, choosing to live in the present and look to the future without ever glancing backwards through the murky mists of time. Which is a shame, as there are valuable lessons to be learned from the past.
History can tell us where we went wrong, how bad things happened, and the timeline that led to truly world-changing events. Which is why it’s important to keep one eye on the past, learning about history so that we can all, as a collective, shape the future.
You can read books, you can watch documentaries, you can ask questions. Or you can turn to that glorious repository of knowledge that is the Web. And in particular, Twitter. This is a list of eight of the best Twitter feeds to follow to learn all about history and the past that shaped our present, that in turn will shape our future.
Weird History @historyweird
1842: Dr Alfred Hitchcock warns that dozens of young men have been killed or driven insane by constant masturbation. http://t.co/CZJfWq9UvB
— Weird History (@historyweird) September 26, 2013
Weird History exists to find and promote historical stories of a bizarre nature. All of the stories are drawn from historical sources such as newspapers and publications. If the contents of a tweet pique your interest you can click through to the Weird History blog on Alpha History to read up on it in more depth.
Historical Pictures @historicalpics
A drunk Steve McQueen hugging a drunk John Wayne, 1970s pic.twitter.com/er7C839LgU
— Historical Pictures (@HistoricalPics) September 27, 2013
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which makes it the perfect medium for sharing on the 140-character-limited Twitter. Historical Pictures comprises an endless feed of links to iconic, important, or otherwise interesting photographs from the past, but the invention of the camera is as far back as these can stretch, for obvious reasons.
The History Network @history
THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 1779 > John Adams is appointed to negotiate peace terms with British. More from this day: http://t.co/oMipjOpsMH
— HISTORY (@HISTORY) September 27, 2013
The History Network is a television network in the U.S. and beyond. The content of the network has changed over the years, with shows such as Top Gear and Pawn Stars apparently now qualifying as historical documents. Still, the main focus is on proper history, and this official Twitter account for the network delivers that in spades.
People watching an atomic test at Nevada Test Site, c. 1950s pic.twitter.com/Etjvi1WG7P
— ClassicPics (@History_Pics)
Another Twitter account dedicated to finding and sharing photographs from the past, ClassicPics tweets links to some truly inspiring glimpses into the history of this spinning sphere we call Earth. It’s often the banal photos of people just going about their lives that truly leave a lasting impression.
A Blog About History @historytweeter
— A Blog About History (@historytweeter) September 27, 2013
As the name may have suggested, this Twitter account is the feed from A Blog About History. You could just bookmark the actual site in question, but the tweets pare the stories down to their very essence, making it easy to decide how interested you are in reading more about the subject matter.
World History 101 @worldhistory101
On this day in 1905, Albert Einstein submitted for publication the original version of his famous equation E=mc². http://t.co/wvaXYkYeYS
— World History 101 (@WorldHistory101) September 27, 2013
World History 101 comprises mostly of ‘This Day In History’ tweets, but this style actually suits Twitter extremely well thanks to short snippets being augmented by a link to the source material. Wikipedia, a huge resource for learning new facts every day, features heavily as a source.
History In Pictures @historyinpics
Jesse Owens crossing the finish line at the 1936 Berlin Olympics pic.twitter.com/gCjeoAksKW
— History In Pictures (@HistoryInPics) September 26, 2013
Yet another Twitter account which aims to intrigue people with photos from the past is History In Pictures. Some of the photos featured show important moments captured on film forever, while others catch the briefest of glimpses into the lives of people just going about their daily business.
WW2 Tweets @realtimewwii
New Hitler directive orders: “Erase St. Petersburg from the face of the earth. Reject surrender- we’ve no interest in saving civilian lives”
— WW2 Tweets from 1941 (@RealTimeWWII) September 25, 2013
WW2 Tweets is perhaps the most interesting of all the Twitter feeds featured on this list. It focuses on one huge event from the past, and reveals it in incredible detail. Each tweet is delivered in real time as if we were living through World War II, and at the time of writing it’s 1941 and there are still four years of pain ahead.
This list covers centuries in time, with the people involved passing on fun facts, tremendous tidbits, and important images from history. Following these Twitter accounts, and truly absorbing the tweets they send down the tubes, will both educate and entertain you. And if something you see on one of these feeds truly sparks your imagination, why not explore it further?
Do you think it’s important for everybody to learn a little about the events of the past? Or do you think history is overrated? Are there any other Twitter accounts related to history you think should have made the cut? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Kristian Bjornard