From scavenger hunts to improving your vocabulary, there are many creative uses for Twitter, which goes way beyond being a simple social network, 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.
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.
I’m told that we have a super weapon under development: a sort of liquid petroleum that can be squirted at enemies and lit on fire.
— Justinian II (@CryForByzantium) October 25, 2013
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.
Israel and Transjordan sign Armistice; Arab Legion will replace Iraqi army in north-central Palestine [3 Apr 1949]
— 48 Arab Israeli War (@1948War) April 3, 2013
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.
Ulysses S. Grant was ordered to break the siege and relieve the starving Union troops.
— Civil War Reporter (@CivilWarReportr) October 28, 2013
@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.
DC diarist Horatio Taft: “No news today of any importance from the armies or from the southern coast. We are in a State of great anxiety”
— Post Civil War (@CivilWarwp) March 7, 2013
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.
We’re over Smyth’s Sea right now . . . doesn’t look much like a sea. . . sort of a hilly looking area . . . It’s not at all like a Mare.
— Apollo 11 (@AP11_SPACECRAFT) July 19, 2009
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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