Medieval Tweeting

I resisted joining twitter for a long time. I didn’t really think it was for me. I’m not really the flash mob or tweet-up type. I finally gave in this summer and it has totally changed the way I use the internet. I love it. Way more influential to me than facebook.

Its interesting that I have two totally separate crowds on the two platforms. Facebook is family, local friends, classmates; in general people I see every week or could run into any time. Twitter is more like the conversations I have related to my blogs,  mostly with people I’ve never met in person.  My twitter community is also much more closely tied to my blogs. Many of the blogs I include in the round-ups on Contagions, I only learned about on twitter.

The only thing that would make twitter better is for more medievalists to get involved. So what is on twitter for you?

Medieval bloggers on twitter: Tim Clarkson of Senchus, Jeffery Cohen of In the Middle, Matthew Gabriele and Larry Swain of Modern Medieval, Vaulting & Vellum, Got Medieval, Badonicus, Richard Scott Nokes of Unlocked Wordhoard, Steven Till, Steve Mulhberger, and oh yeah, me (@MZiegler3). I’m sure there are many others that I’ve missed.

Here are some of the organizations and themed tweeters of interest for medievalists. They tweet news and views, academic paper links, conference announcements etc. A couple like @CryforByzantium and @RomanCaerleon tweet in the guise of an Antique or Medieval person.

Medievalists.net @Medievalists – tweets news, announcements, and articles all day, every day

Medieval Manuscripts @MedievalMSS – tweets manuscript images daily

Medieval Archives  @MedievalArchive

BibliOdyssey @BibliOdyssey – Blogs and tweets on old books and illustrations, often medieval.

Archaeology Rome @jntribolo

String of Bede’s @Bedes_String

Roman Caerleon Museum @RomanCaerleon

Headland Archaeology (Ireland) @headlandarch

English Heritage @EnglishHeritage

Irish Archaeology @irarchaeology

Medieval Books @Medievalbooks  – Tweets and links to book reviews

Constantine XI @CryforByzantium

H-Albion @halbion

Melisende @mzmelisende - Historian of Women’s history

Medieval Congress @KzooICMS

Past Horizons @PastHorizons – portal of articles, projects and more for archaeology

In addition to all this there are scores of medievalists on twitter and with this many academics there is plenty of general academic news and views. The recent events at UCDavis were old news on twitter before the main news channels picked it up at all.

You don’t need smart phones to tweet. Some people tweet all day long, others only once a week or so. You can set it up so that your blog posts are tweeted automatically, painless advertising. How about giving it a try?

Come join us on twitter!  (Yes, I’m talking to you Curt Emanuel and Jonathan Jarrett. Highly Eccentric twitter is so for you! )

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6 comments on “Medieval Tweeting

  1. Thanks for that. I’ve caught some of the people via the stuff you retweet and your #ffs. It’s great to have a list.

    Nicola (@nicolaz)

  2. Curt Emanuel says:

    Michelle – You’re asking a prodigious overwriter to get on Twitter? I think limiting messages to that size would drive me insane!

    I don’t think I’d be a good tweeter. I go on FB maybe once/week (though they’ve started this annoying habit of e-mailing me whenever something happens there). Though you never know – two years ago I don’t think I’d given much thought to blogging.

    • Consider it good training. You can always send serial messages. Besides twitter is mostly about getting news and passing it on.

      You can stop the emails from facebook in your account controls.

  3. I appreciate the intent, but (i) I already have all the Internet time-sinks I can cope with, (ii) I am trying to get more productive not less, and (iii) like for Curt, 140-character bursts are never going to be my medium.

  4. At least with the crowd I tweet with, blogs and blog comments remain the primary discussion venue. Twitter points the way. As I said above, I wouldn’t know about half the blogs in my round-ups on Contagions without twitter. My internet reading experience is far richer and more fulfilling than it was before twitter. You many not be interested in many of the science oriented blogs in my round-ups but I’m sure there are just as many humanities blogs and tweeters out there, many in areas that are not of interest to me.

  5. Tim says:

    I was sceptical about Twitter until quite recently. Seemed I barely had enough time to keep the blog updated, let alone take on another social networking activity. The little I knew of Twitter suggested that it had the potential to be a major drain on my time for little reward. I don’t use Facebook. I was happy to run a blog and nothing else.

    Well, I was wrong about Twitter. Completely way off beam. I decided to give it a go because Michelle nudged me into it. She nudged me into blogging three years ago and that turned out to be a revelation, so I let myself get nudged again and signed up to Twitter. It was meant to be a toe-dipping venture, just to see what it was all about, with an expectation on my part that I’d give up after a week. That was several months ago and I’m still signed up. I would recommend it to anyone who blogs, even if their social networking time is limited (or *especially* if it’s limited).

    For me, the great thing about Twitter is the way it doesn’t eat up a lot of time, yet brings noticeable rewards. Traffic to my blog has increased since I signed up. I can see how much of the increase is due to Twitter from the referrals in my WordPress stats. In terms of effort my input is quite small, which is absolutely OK in the ‘Twitterverse’. Some people tweet like crazy, seemingly for hours on end, while others (like me) tweet maybe once or twice per day, but not every day. Some tweet once every blue moon, or less, or never. I find a single daily tweet, on average, keeps a trickle of traffic coming to my blog from Twitter. Writing a tweet takes me about 1% of the time it takes to write a blogpost. I just wander around a few blogs and tweet a link to an interesting post that someone else has written. Or I tweet a link to one of my own old posts. That’s all there is to it. The 140 character limit is more than sufficient to tweet a link. I tend to do my tweeting during ad breaks while watching TV. In the first ad break I locate a blogpost. In the next I go into Twitter and tweet it. Sometimes I can send out two or three tweets if I’m on a roll, all of them in ad breaks. Then I maybe sign off from Twitter for a couple of days. At other times I’ll spend 10-15 minutes browsing the latest tweets in my Twitter ‘timeline’. I just run my eye quickly down the list, see an interesting tweet by someone I follow, and simply re-tweet it to my followers. Almost no effort on my part, other than the quarter-hour I’ve spent browsing the timeline over a cup of tea.

    As Michelle says, we medieval bloggers can get nice benefits from Twitter. In addition to extra traffic for our blogs it’s a great way to announce news about our latest projects to a small network of like-minded folk. As well as individuals these ‘followers’ can include scholarly organisations such as learned societies, research groups and academic departments. Like I said before, there’s no obligation to be a regular tweeter. Lots of people sign up, write one tweet, then don’t do anything else for weeks or months. But their Twitter profiles still show up with a bloglink, so they’re still potentially attracting new readers to their blogs (like being listed on a gigantic directory). For me, joining Twitter has been as much a revelation as signing up to Ansaxnet in the mid-90s.

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