Friday, February 1, 2013

How to be a Social Media Historian

Naomi Lloyd-Jones is learning how to be a #socialmediahistorian.  In this post at the Journal of Victorian Culture Online she describes her recent experience at a conference on history and social media. (HT: AHA on Facebook). A taste:

Concerns were however raised about the danger of putting research into the public domain, and the attendant problems of it being pilfered by others or damaging the chances of having the work published in an academic format. The rebuttal was that a blog can in a sense ‘time stamp’ your ideas, and clearly mark them out as your own, before anyone else gets there first. Further, as one participant noted, a tweet can be fleeting and quickly disappear into a feed, whereas a blog post will withstand the Google test. The style of a blog will also invariably be different from that of a thesis or article, and will allow you to demonstrate that you can write in an accessible manner. And for those who do not see their path as being that of the traditional academic, a blog can be instrumental in bringing the kind of attention needed to forge ahead with a more media-focused career. My friend Fern Riddell, who serves as the Journal of Victorian Culture’s online film editor, maintains that her use of blogging and Twitter has been invaluable in securing work on both television and radio. Blogging can breed blogging, and the guest blog can both help you build a relationship with a journal, publisher of institution, and open your ideas up to a new audience. Image sharing websites, favoured by the National Archives in particular, can add an extra dimension to your social media presence (although beware of copyright pitfalls!), as can communities such as Academia.edu and The Women’s Room. Just as Isabel Holowaty described the ‘plugging in’ of the Bodleian History Faculty Library’s feeds into several other media outlets, it seems that individual historians too must plug in and plog on.

Lloyd-Jones also relays some blogging tips for historians:
  1. Post on a frequent basis
  2. Be informative
  3. Write in a lively manner
  4. Include pictures
  5. Include links
  6. Know your audience
  7. Don’t be afraid to ‘plog’ (meaning to plug your blog – a glorious new word that I hope gains parlance)

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