One of my favorite Twitter accounts is A. T. Nelson (@WWIIToday) with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. We visited it in 2003 – it was still the D-Day Museum then. It was the personal touches found throughout that made it so impressive. Many of the docents were WWII veterans and most of the exhibits included personal stories from individuals involved in that particular event. These were often audio or video clips recorded by the actual individual.
A. T. Nelson’s Twitter feed follows those principals as he reminds us of the things that happened “on this day” and keeps us updated on current stories about WWII veterans. Twitter is the perfect platform for this. He obviously scours news sources from around the country and the world and shares them via Twitter with a link and a comment. And, he’s not alone. Amy Jurries (@lettersww2) is posting her family’s letters home. Vicki Washuk (@FrancesWood) shares the “Diary of an English Woman in London World War Two Blitz 1939-1945”. Another diary comes from May Hill (@MayHillWWII) who had a son serving in the RAF. I’m so hooked, I’ve started a list (@moultriecreek/wwii).
Of course, to really appreciate these stories and photos, you need a Twitter reader that goes beyond the 140 characters to the linked articles, images and videos. There’s the iPad app, Flipboard, which brings this content to life in a very elegant format, but there’s a very nice online reader for Twitter that will also provide an enjoyable reading experience. Take a look at litefeed.
Once you’re logged into Twitter and authorized access via litefeed, you have complete access to all your Twitter content. The tabs you see across the top of the screen are the various Twitter lists I’ve created. Right now I’m viewing the WWII list. Notice the plus and minus icons to the right of each post. These are used to expand/collapse the external content related to this post. You don’t have to leave litefeed – it comes to you. The platform is still in beta, so there’s limited functionality other than reading. You can retweet a post from inside litefeed, but when you click on a profile page, you’ll be taken to Twitter to view that user’s profile.
As more family historians publish their personal history online, Twitter becomes an impressive tool for aggregating that content. And, as readers such as Flipboard and litefeed evolve, these collections will receive the visual attention they deserve.
Who says publishing is only for the professionals?