social eyes on history

Each week I’ll be taking a look at how social media can be applied to various industries, sectors and bodies.

Whilst the tendency is to focus on the fresher, more innovative uses of social, it is also important to take a step back and admire some of the more practical uses.

Naturally, people get wrapped up in social media’s use as a marketing tool. “What money can it make us?” (A question I’m asked on a daily basis). Quite right this question is too. If social comes at a cost, you want to (at the very least) aim to quantify return.

Around a year ago, I came across a Twitter account that encouraged me to rethink the diverse use of social. This profile didn’t link to news, it didn’t relate to a particular product or service, it wasn’t encouraging engagement nor did the info within the profile link to anything else other than a Facebook page. This profile was: World War II Tweets from 1941 @RealTimeWWII.

The idea of this profile is simple; simple, but breathtakingly original and refreshing. According to their profile biography, they are “live-tweeting the 2nd World War, as it happens on this date and time in 1941, and for 5 years to come”. They publish pieces of text, often accompanied by an authentic image from World War II.

Most of you will be familiar with ‘live tweeting’. I’ve utilised this for several of my clients at trade shows or conferences. There’s no denying, it’s a great way of rapidly boosting authority. RealTimeWWII aren’t looking for authority, they are simply using social as an accessible educational tool. Whilst I imagine this feeding of micro-information is opposed by some historians, I can’t help but feel this is a fantastic method of teaching people (both children and adults) the fundamentals of history. The fact this can be published in real-time is a special hook. It makes the information incredibly relevant and creates a journey as opposed to a mass of information you’re subjected to in a traditional text book.

I was sat having a glass of wine last night, aimlessly scrolling through Twitter and saw this:

world war 2

I have Australian family and never knew that Australia played a role in World War Two. This is obviously one small example, but I’m a firm believer that this use of social is valuable.

Going back to my original point, brands may struggle to see the value in this application. However, I was in a meeting with a prospective client the other day. Without going into too much detail, they told me that the company had history spanning over 300 years. Instantly, this reshaped my entire proposal. I could now aim to focus on their history – something they had otherwise disregarded. There’s obvious value for a prospective customer in this; a strong history that can be communicated in an accessible way.

I did try and contact the owners of this account. I had one question: Have you scheduled the entirety of the war for the next 5 years?

If you’ve come across any similar examples, then do please share them below. I really do urge you to follow this account if for no other reason than it may improve your chances of winning a pub quiz one day…