In high school I had a US History teacher who would use the word “twitterpated” to describe feelings of excitement – he used it a lot while showing our class the 1992 classic based on James Fennimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
I couldn’t help but think of this word as I was benevolently forced to create a Twitter account for this class. I had avoided signing up for Twitter for years, as the short format did not appeal to me and I thought “tweeting” sounded stupid. However, after a few days I have found that the way Twitter allows user to aggregate information and updates from institutions and organizations to be extremely helpful.
In addition, the availability of free social media platforms, such as Twitter, has greatly changed the ways museums and other public history institutions are able to interact with their audiences. After browsing the feeds of several historians and public history institutions, it was apparent that while social media can be a powerful tool for public history institutions to reach a wider audience and further their mission, organizations must use these platforms intentionally in order to actually have the impact they want.