Social Media

Experience The Biggest Historical Events Of Our Times Through Twitter

Nancy Messieh 11-11-2013

From scavenger hunts to improving your vocabulary, there are many creative uses for Twitter 7 Fun Uses for Twitter You Haven't Figured Out Yet It isn't difficult to get addicted to Twitter. After all, it hardly takes an effort to type in 140 characters. In those itsy-bitsy lines lies a great power, to either change the world with a... Read More , which goes way beyond being a simple social network These People Use Twitter In Ways You Can't Imagine Where you and I might see a box for 140 characters, these people see a blank canvas that they can turn into anything they want. Who would have thought Twitter could be used like this? Read More ,  There really is no end to how you can use Twitter for fun or educational experiences.


We recently introduced you to 8 Twitter feeds that reveal the past with historic tweets, with pictures and facts shared on the social networking site. But there are other creative ways to learn your history from Twitter. With the help of the history books, these accounts live-tweet specific historical events in the exact sequence and on the same dates as they happened. From World War II to the American Revolution, from the sinking of the Titanic to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, there’s something in there for everyone.


While they haven’t tweeted in quite a while, the TWHistory account is a great place to start as it is curates other accounts sharing historic events. If you check out TWHistory’s lists, you’ll find seven historical accounts — from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Battle of Gettysburg, there’s quite a variety of events, one of which is still going strong, so we’ve listed it separately. Also be sure to check out their tweets to see other history accounts they’ve discovered.

Byzantine Empire

If you want an even broader topic, @CryforByzantium is tweeting the history of the Byzantine Empire. With over 6,000 tweets, the account is still going strong, updating several times a day and giving Twitter users a glimpse into ancient history, using modern technology. The events begin with the accession of Constantine the Great in 306, and should end with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

American Revolution

Run by @JPhase, the Twitter account @PatriotCast is tweeting a day by day blow of the American Revolution — and will be doing so for a total of eight years. The reenactment of the revolution is ongoing, and with over 2,000 tweets already published, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. The occasional tweet is also accompanied by a link containing historical proclamations and more.

World War II

One of the best known, and most followed, accounts of this kind is one that is live-tweeting events of World War II as they happened, and will be doing so for the five-year duration of the war. @RealTimeWWII has over 300,000 followers, over 6,000 tweets, and is still going strong. And if you happen to prefer Facebook to Twitter, you can follow the action over on Facebook instead.


It is however, not the only Twitter account out there focused on World War II. You can also follow @UKWarCabinet to find out more about the war as told by British Cabinet Papers from 1943.

1948 Arab Israeli War

While it may be on hiatus at the moment, @1948War will be resuming the action at the beginning of next year. They’ve been recounting events of the 1948 Arab Israeli War, and have plans to do the same in Arabic and Hebrew as well.

The Israeli Defense Force, which has quite a strong Twitter presence itself, also did something similar earlier this year. The account @IDF1967 was used to recount the events of the Six Day War, however it was done entirely in Hebrew.

American Civil War

Another significant moment in history that is being recounted on Twitter is the American Civil War. Two Twitter accounts have stood out with their tweets: @CivilWarReportr and @CivilWarWP. @CivilWarReportr uses the voice of a fictional Civil War reporter, Beglan O’Brien, to give a day by day account of happenings in the American Civil War.


@CivilWarWP, on the other hand, which is run by @timsmithwp, uses journals, letters, records and newspapers to tweet the Civil War as it happened, in “the words of the people who lived it.” While the account has been dormant for a few months, there are almost 3,000 worth of tweets to go through if you haven’t been following the account already.


One of a few Twitter accounts that have stopped tweeting but is still worth checking out is @TitanicRealTime. As the name reveals, the account was used to recount, blow by blow, the Titanic’s fateful journey, from shipping off, to sinking in April 1912. The story is told from a variety of perspectives: the crew, passengers, captain and more.

1992 LA Riots

On the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, NBC LA decided to relive the events by live-tweeting them as they happened using the Twitter account, @RealTimeLARiots, they relived the riots as they happened on their exact date, wrapping up in May, 2012 after over 300 tweets.

Apollo 11 Mission

Another dormant account that has served its purpose is @AP11_SpaceCraft. If you’re particularly interested in expeditions in outer-space, you’ll want to see how Twitter was used to unfold the first manned expedition to the moon on Apollo 11, with the details revealed in just over 200 tweets.



Another anniversary that was marked with a live-tweeting retelling of the tale is 9/11. @911TenYearsAgo was set up by the Guardian last year to give an account of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. After only sixteen tweets, however, the experiment came to an abrupt end. The attempt to relive the event was seen as too fresh in many people’s minds. It was the cause of some controversy, and is a lesson that not all events belong in the realms of a live-tweeting experiment on Twitter.

Can you think of any other accounts to add to this list? What historical events do you want to see live-tweeted on Twitter? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Andreas Eldh

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  1. dragonmouth
    November 17, 2013 at 12:57 am

    In a word - NO.

    History is not just a list of events that can be listed like names in a phone book. History provides with the WHY of events. Each historical event has many interrelated causes, with the possibility that the absence of any one of them may have stopped the event from occuring, or may have postponed its occurence. Each event also has many interrelated effects. None of this can be reduced to sound bites of 140 characters or less if we are to properly learn and understand history.

    It is said that those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it. By reducing history to 140 character sound bites, we are dooming those reading the sound bites to repeating history. Do we really want that?! Do we want to go through another Civil War? Do we want to go through another Holocaust? Americans are already very deficient in the knowledge of their national history and know almost nothing about world history. Of course our government might want us to use History for Twits as our source so that we don't learn WHY the United States was founded and thus threaten their sinecures.

  2. dragonmouth
    November 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Are you kidding???!!! Reducing history to a series of 140 byte tweets? History for TWITS!

    • Nancy
      November 17, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Isn't it better to try to take history to the medium that people are using rather than not know anything about history at all?

      • Richard Pini
        December 18, 2016 at 8:18 am

        Of course it is. Just because some things are difficult to achieve in restricted formats does not mean they should not be attempted, especially if the format is popular.