Follow Friday – History Edition

by Kristen Abell

As you may (or may not) know, I am a graduate of the University of Kansas, also known as a Jayhawker for life. This means that I’m especially attuned to events going on in the Lawrence area on the interwebs. this week was an active week for Larryville in the Twitterverse and beyond, as they commemorated the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence in 1863. For those not in the know, Quantrill led a band of pro-slavery Missourians in a raid that burned the anti-slavery stronghold of Lawrence almost entirely to the ground. In order to commemorate the rebirth of Lawrence after this event, the city decided to re-enact the raid…on Twitter.

Although it’s been a couple of days since the Twit-enactment, you can still see most of the stream by checking out the #QR1863 hashtag or by visiting the website at I’ve always thought a use of social media to re-enact a historical event, a TV show, or a book would be an excellent way of teaching others how to use the different tools available, and this is a fabulous example of that. If you visit the website, you can even see the timeline they used to create the Twitter stream. Several members from the Lawrence community acted as historical figures, complete with Twitter handles and bios to fit. In addition to tweeting out the events of the day, they reacted to tweets from “current day” responders. Getting into the excitement of the day, a few folks even created some new Twitter profiles – @horse1863 and @martymcfly1863 are just a couple examples – and jumped right into the tweet-stream.

In addition to the folks live-tweeting the re-enactment, several schools in the area followed along and did history lessons so that their students could participate in the historical events of the day.

Now this, folks, is how you use social media. I highly encourage you to go check it out and think of ways you could use social media similarly. I’ve already got my mind churning on ways to do my next training via live-tweeting an event or book. What similarly awesome uses of social media have you seen?

Follow Friday – History Edition

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