Two years ago today, Katrina Gulliver began compiling a list of fellow historians on Twitter, and coined the term “twitterstorian” to describe this group. She also instructed to use the #twitterstorian hashtag (which I don’t always remember to do!). Although I was a relative newcomer to Twitter, she invited me to a Twitterstorians happy hour and dinner at this year’s AHA convention in Boston. In honor of this anniversary Katrina has asked us to write about our experiences with Twitter, how it has helped with our research, networking, finding information, and so forth.
In my experience, Jeremy Boggs nicely sums up the advantages and disadvantages of Twitter with the pithy phrase: “Twitter to connect, blogging to reflect.” Readers of this blog will notice that my output here has dwindled since I joined Twitter, which is why I have my feed embedded on the blog, and have my feed automatically compiled as the Knitting Clio daily. The “daily” isn’t just for my fans, though: it’s the only way I can keep up with all the cool stuff that posted by those I follow without going out of my mind! Even then, it feels overwhelming. Also, the daily only compiles shared links, not the back and forth conversation on the network. I don’t check the status updates on a constant basis — I just can’t or I wouldn’t get any work done (or find time to ride my bike, or knit, or play guitar, or sleep, or other stuff I like to do).
So, in short, Twitter has been a great way to connect with new people and to get new information about trends in the field. The downside is that most of my digital output has shifted to Twitter and the longer, reflective writing that I used to do on this blog has shrunk considerably. I need to find a balance, somehow.