Social Media: A Social Life

This semester, I was given the task of creating a blog for my Digital History class where I would follow other academic history bloggers. I also took to Twitter, which I had been using for years before this class, to follow a number of different historical associations and what the Twitter world calls “Twitterstorians.”

On my blog, I feel as though I am on par with other graduate students and smaller historical associations. I try to keep my blog very academic, while still incorporating a few personal anecdotes here and there. From what I have seen on other blogs this is very much the norm.

On Twitter, however, this is where I differ from my “Twitterstorian” counterparts. I use my Twitter for more personal use than academic, which can be seen by the types of pages I follow. Some of them are history related, but the majority are the pages of my favorite actors and bands. Occasionally one of my favorite actors will post something relevant to current events that I will either Like or Retweet. For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda has tweeted about relief efforts in Puerto Rico or his issues with our current president. When the Olympics came around, I also retweeted posts from NBC regarding different athletes and different concerns surrounding the games such as Russia’s doping scandal and the United North/South Korea Team.

Most of the “Twitterstorians” I follow however use their pages very differently. These users post different historically based commentary, like a “What happened on this day” post or an argument to an article or book. Also, if they are a part of a museum, they will retweet things from the museum’s page about different events coming up.

In order to become a better public historian, my social media pages should become more professionalized. If a potential employer is looking at my social media pages, I want them to see a person that will fit into their institution, not someone who is more interested in connecting with random people on the internet. In order to do this, I have been removing a lot of the random “click-bait” type pages I have followed in the past. I have also been removing pictures that make me look less than professional. When your parents nag you saying “You need to be careful about what you post online!,” most kids don’t listen. However once you see for yourself how those posts can change the way someone in the real world views you, you begin to change. Think of social media not as a way of telling the world all of your dirty laundry, but instead as a fun new resume, where everything you post can help you get the job of your dreams.

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