Negotiating #SocMedia4Hist: Technologies, Tactics and Triumphs

Claire Hayward (Kingston University) Justin Bengry (Birkbeck, University of London) Jennifer Evans (University of Hertfordshire)
3 December 2014

The world of social media offers historians opportunities to find collaborators and colleagues, communicate and uncover new avenues of research, shape ideas and contribute to new, global communities of enquiry. But entering this world can be a daunting prospect, particularly for PhD students and early-career academics. Building and maintaining a profile for your work, negotiating online relationships and protecting your academic 'capital' are just some of the challenges. When your work touches on 'difficult' pasts then 'daunting' can become 'terrifying' as new social media opportunities emerge and continue to evolve. Historians increasingly rely on Facebook as a professional tool, contribute to Wikipedia, use WordPress and other systems to blog about their research, and engage on Twitter with other #twitterstorians. Others rely on image sites like Tumblr and Flickr to uncover and disseminate resources, while there is also a community of historians on Reddit. This session, jointly convened by the Public History and History of Sexuality seminars, tackles the question of how to navigate social media, making the most of the new spaces they open up while managing some of the risks and pitfalls.

The speakers all have first-hand experience of this tricky but important task of being a 'historian in public' using online media. Claire Hayward is a PhD candidate at Kingston University, social media co-ordinator for Cultural Histories @ Kingston , a co-ordinator of History @ Kingston department blog and has her own blog on exploring public histories.

Justin Bengry, an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London is a co-founder of the international, collaborative, open-access blog NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality.

Ciara Meehan is lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire, a regular contributor to the Irish media and co-director of the international and interdisciplinary researchers’ network, Perceptions of Pregnancy.

The emphasis is on advice, discussion and developing skills. We will be running a hashtag #SocMedia4Hist on @IHRPublicHist, @IHR_Sexuality and @NotchesBlog throughout the seminar for questions and comments from those not able to attend in person.

This session is being jointly hosted by the Public History & History of Sexuality Seminar.

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