RE­LIV­ING HIS­TORY

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Tweets en­ter retro zone.

HIS­TOR­I­CAL fic­tion tells a story that is set in the past, with real events and his­tor­i­cal char­ac­ters.

It cap­tures the so­cial con­di­tions, per­spec­tives, norms and mores of the time through at­ten­tion to pe­riod de­tail.

En­joyed in books, mag­a­zines, art, TV, film, theatre and video games, his­tor­i­cal fic­tion is also a grow­ing genre on Twit­ter.

Watch­ing his­tory un­fold, 140- char­ac­ters at a time, is like a mi­cro- soap opera par­tic­u­larly when there is some creativ­ity to the im­per­son­ation.

Some ac­counts dic­tate his­tor­i­cal and fac­tual events, while oth­ers take a hu­mor­ous, light- hearted an­gle in im­per­son­at­ing colour­ful char­ac­ters from the past.

Antarc­tic ex­plorer Dou­glas Maw­son’s steps were re- en­acted to com­mem­o­rate the centenary of his jour­ney south in De­cem­ber.

Maw­son tweeted up­dates on trek prepa­ra­tions, sup­plies and equip­ment and sci­en­tific re­search notes.

Cul­mi­nat­ing in his de­par­ture from London and ar­rival in Ho­bart on De­cem­ber 2, 1911, some of the tweets were fac­tual and some hu­mor­ous.

Twit­ter has evolved be­yond mi­croblog­ging into a con­ver­sa­tion tool. It’s fun to read what his­tor­i­cal tweet­ers write, but it’s more fun to in­ter­act with them via @ replies.

Hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure is a test of their abil­ity to stay in char­ac­ter.

What does Marie Antoinette have to say about Snooki’s preg­nancy? She had bet­ter say it clev­erly and in- char­ac­ter, or she will lose fol­low­ers.

His­tor­i­cal fig­ures on Twit­ter are help­ing to show peo­ple that his­tory isn’t just dull and dusty old tomes, but that it lives, breathes, and, yes, oc­ca­sion­ally his­tory retweets.

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