On Twitterstorians Day; or, how Twitter saved the History Carnival

It’s two years since Katrina Gulliver posted the first #twitterstorians list. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?

That also means it’s about 1 year since I really started using Twitter seriously for the History Carnival and Carnivalesque. The experiment has done wonders for the Carnivals. Twitter is perfect for communicating with existing readers and reaching new ones, for begging for help, calls for posts for upcoming editions and announcements when editions are posted. (Both carnivals have hosts lined up several months ahead – something that’s never happened before.) It’s spread the word more widely and effectively than anything I ever tried before, and I’m eternally grateful to all the followers and retweeters who’ve made it work.

At the same time last year, I launched The Broadside to collect history blogging (and similar material) that was being linked by the people the History Carnival account follows. That used Tweeted Times, an online service that aggregates and ranks links on Twitter and creates an online ‘newspaper’ of the most popular (and, importantly, publishes RSS feeds of the newspapers). Since then, Tweeted Times has extended its service to newspapers based on search queries, and I’ve learned a bit about how to use the Twitter API.

So I’ve been thinking about ways to do more with The Broadside and here’s the result:

thebroadside.org

The site is intended to do two main things, both of which will gradually be expanded:

Firstly, to aggregate the most popularly linked history blogging and news on Twitter and help with the perennial problems of how to keep up and find the good stuff amidst all the chatter;

Secondly, as a resource to highlight what historians are already doing on Twitter and help us make more effective use of the service in research and teaching.

So, happy 2nd birthday Twitterstorians!

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