Let’s Get Real (Time: Historical Twitter)

       by Brandy D. Anderson

Source: revwarheart

Source: revwarheart

The immediacy of social media has drastically changed the world, including changing the way people think and how they interact with each other. This sweeping change applies to politics just as much as it does to private lives. A recent Twitter phenomena is the rapid growth of “Real Time” accounts that take historical events and present them, via Twitter, as if they were happening right now. Wars, literary events, and other historical occurrences are brought to life by inventive and creative researchers. I’ve scoured Twitter to present you with the top 5 Twitter Real Time accounts sure to please the history lover in you.


5. War of 1812

Source: revwarheart

Source: revwarheart


“Tweeting about events of the War of 1812 in real time.”

You’ll find no photos here since the first known photographic image was taken in 1827. You will, however, find a string of intense real time war details, often minute by minute (for example, the events unfolding right now are part of a 37 part real time account). Of course, the War of 1812 is oddly named considering the fact that this war actually lasted for two years. The admin of this account takes painstaking trouble to bring the Canada versus America war to fastidious life.


4. The Vietnam War

Source: hotblack

Source: hotblack


“Vietnam War History, Timelines, Pictures, Facts & Questions. Visit us @http://www.thevietnamwar.info/ 

The Vietnam “War” was the first televised war so, consequentially, the memories which surround it often are much less glamorized than those of the Korean War and, even more so, World War II. Whether it’s this social consciousness, the murky politics behind it all, or whether it’s merely because it’s a much more recent piece of our history, Vietnam seems to often be forgotten by social media when it comes to remembering our military past. This Twitter page does a faithful job of bringing the events of the “police action” into our present, ensuring that we don’t forget about the men and women who fought in Vietnam, and the many people who were (and still are) affected by these sad events.


3. Real Time WWI



“Follow every day what has happened during WWI. It has officially started with the 100 year of the assassination of the Archduke on 28 June 2014.”

This account focuses on bringing the events of WWI into real time through news flashes, maps, a number of photos and period paintings, and a slew of statistics. It’s nice to see a site devoted to the remembrance of WWI in a social media world where WWII seems to easily canvas most of the interest when it comes to war re-enactments/remembrances. The admin does an excellent job of updating multiple times a day and he or she always has something interesting to share.


2. WWII Tweets From 1942

Source: shannontanski

Source: shannontanski


“Live tweeting the 2nd World War, as it happens on this date & time in 1942, & for 4 years to come.”

This page is amazingly faithful and accurate, and major kudos should go to the page admin. The posts are always interesting, and, unsurprisingly, they are very often downright disturbing. WWII Tweets From 1942 is a massive undertaking and this page certainly doesn’t disappoint. Now that we’re in the end of August, there are reports of Luftwaffe bombings in Stalingrad, Marines still battling wounded Japanese in Guadalcanal, and details, many containing horrific pictures, of Nazi death camps. The squeamish should be forewarned, however, because there are lots of graphic photos detailing the horrors of war that fill this page on any given day.



1. 1814 Now

Source: clarita

Source: clarita


“Events as they happen two hundred years ago today. For more information and references please see the website.”

I really love this page. The admin posts diverse content, usually in the form of quotes from letters and documents, from all different kinds of authors (literary professionals, politicians, and 1814 ‘common folks’ alike). Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Dolley Madison (wife of US President James Madison), Lord Byron, Samuel Coleridge, and John Polidori are only a few of the frequent contributors to this page. There is also extensive coverage of the War of 1812 (which lasted into 1814). My personal favourite features of this page are Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley’s prolific journal entries (occasionally supplemented by Mary’s accompanying half-sister Claire) chronicling their swift flight from censure in England as they made their way on a walking tour through Europe. Mary Shelley later used these entries to publish a travel book called History of a Six Week’s Tour. Many of the entries realistically describe the decimated post Napoleonic war European countryside.


Honorable Mention:

Blog of 1812

Source: wintersixfour

Source: wintersixfour


“A running diary of the War of 1812, from a partnership of historic sites, maintained by The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson

This is a really neat account. The only reason it’s getting an honorable mention rather than having a place on the list is its frequent lengthy pauses between updates. There are 13 posts which have been made over the last week, which is great, but before that, there was one posting from June, with the previous posting  dated February of 2013. Let’s hope that the sudden prolific Tweets indicate a new life in this blog because it certainly has a lot of potential.