Happy Birthday, Twitterstorians!

When the question came across the tweetstream the other day, I was pleased to say I’d write a post to celebrate a this group’s birthday.

Following folks on Twitter has been a part of my digital history practice for almost two years, ever since I chanced across the rich stream of tweets from MLA 2009. I was disappointed to find many fewer tweets from the AHA a week later, and I’ve tried to join in tweeting conferences since. That has included NITLE Summits as well as DH2010 and 2011, and I joined the group tweeting SHEAR this July.

In addition, I keep a search column for twitterstorians live on my TweetDeck, along with NITLE, THATCamp, and various (un)conferences as they arise.

My own interest in this group is grounded in a question that I’m interested in asking historians as well as scholars in other disciplines. Having used various digital tools in teaching for the past twenty years, I began my own scholarship in quite traditional analog ways, and my use of technology was for the most part limited to word processing programs. Like many of my colleagues at the time, I used my first desktop computers as expensive typewriters.

But since I started asking students to transcribe and mark up primary sources as part of their coursework, I’ve become interested in the impact of digital tools on historical methodologies. And as I paid attention to these questions for history, I noticed news stories about other disciplines as well. In July 2009, for example, the American Chemical Society announced that they were eliminating the print version of their journal. The changes in scholarly publication that cutting edge scholars have been forecasting for the past fifteen to twenty years are happening.

So I wonder, as twitterstorians celebrate this anniversary, how have digital tools changed your practice of the discipline in teaching, research, and writing?

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