Microblogging more and more is an issue in the Humanities, too. ResearchGate, for instance, allows the exchange of short information in research and science. But better known is Twitter. Mareike König from the DHI in Paris has published an interesting and detailed guide to the use of Twitter in History (in German). Here an English short cut.
Twitter is a “real-time information network”, with the spread of short messages, called tweets, which contain up to 140 characters. A tweet can also contain images, videos or links. The messages can normally be viewed publicly. Those who would like to send tweets themselves need an account. Twitter, up to now, is not much used by historians. Mareike König understands her input as a practical aid for researchers that want to use Twitter for scientific purposes.
She sees this social media as an “excellent tool” to be informed and to let colleagues, peers etc. know about one’s publications, new articles etc. With this sort of microblogging, a researcher can expand his or her own network. The handling is less formal than in emails or letters, and it’s easier to keep in contact with others than by meetings or conferences. Twitter offers just for young researchers a good opportunity to build up a network; and it can also make fun, König says.
Scientific twittering historians can be found on European Twitterstorians, Historische Zeiten, Geschichte, @TheHistoryList, Historians Who Tweet and other. Moreover, it is worthwhile to pursue various academic institutions, such as the University, Department or Library, as well as platformes for the Digital Humanities as for instance Hypotheses.org or infoclio.ch.
In her input Mareike Königs explains step by step how to start Twitter and shows in detail on what one has to look at for that it really works.
Remark: My blog We think History on the Episteme and the new modells of handling (digital) history treats the use of modern social media, too. See, for instance, my review on Pierre Mounier’s interesting demand to open up the Workshop of the Historian or Wolfgang Schmale’s innovative text about digital history. You’ll find further posts to this issue under Participation and Wikipedia, too. As for microblogging, I wonder if it really will be of great help in the humanities beyond the exchange of short text messages. Because: Twitter is very fast but also very short.