Updated February 27, 2017!
Twitter can be an amazing resource for Canadian historians, home to vibrant discussions, news on the latest research, camaraderie, humour, and support. But for some people, Twitter is intimidating. Many find it difficult to find or make sense of these conversations and resources. I know I certainly did when I first started using Twitter. Most of what I’ve learned about Canadian history on Twitter I’ve learned through trial and error. So today, I thought I’d pass on some of the information that I’ve gained to help you navigate the wild and wonderful world of Canadian history on Twitter.
This post will assume that you already have a Twitter account and a basic working knowledge of Twitter. If you are a complete beginner, I’d recommend checking out Liz Covart’s excellent introduction to Twitter, which you can find on her blog. She has a basic introduction, myths and realities of Twitter, reasons why you should use Twitter, a guide to creating your Twitter identity, and, for the slightly more advanced, Twitter strategies for historians. I highly recommend taking a look. If there is enough interest, I can provide a basic introduction to Twitter as well in a future blog post – just let me know in the comments below!
In this blog post, I’m going to talk about hashtags (how to use them and which ones to follow), finding specific conversations, how to use Lists, how to find new Twitter accounts to follow, and I’ll provide you with several lists of accounts that will be of interest to historians of Canada (institutions, history departments, academic journals, collaborative blogs, and some individuals). The only thing you’ll have left to do is join the conversation!
Hashtags are Your Friends
When most people begin on Twitter, it can seem like a confusing jumble of chatter. That’s because if you are just looking at your basic Twitter feed, you are actually looking at several different conversations happening at the same time. The key to unraveling these conversations is to separate them out. How do you do this? Hashtags.
What’s a hashtag you ask? Think of it as a tag or a label for a tweet. It allows you to easily follow conversations on specific topics. Hashtags are distinguished from regular text by the inclusion of the number sign (#).
You can use hashtags to search for conversations in two ways.
- Clicking on a hashtag
- Searching for the hashtags manually with the Twitter search function
No matter which option you chose, if you do this search on your regular computer, it will bring you to a page like the one below. There is a different screen for mobile, but once you’ve figured one out, the other is really simple.
Once you’ve reached this page, you can go one of two ways. Staying on the page gives you access to the “Top” Tweets, meaning those that have the most likes and/or retweets. This is a good option if you want to just get an overview of what’s going on.
If you want to see what’s happening as it happens, click on “Live.” This will bring you to a feed where all of the posts with that particular hashtag are displayed in order, starting with the most recent.
The other tabs are pretty self-explanatory, so I’ll forgo them for now.
That’s really all there is to it! Just don’t forget to use hashtags on your own tweets, so other people can follow along!
Hashtags For Historians of Canada
The most important hashtag you’ll need to know is #twitterstorians. This is the universal catch-all for anything and everything related to history.
If you’d like to see an awesome comprehensive list of history hashtags, I’d recommend checking out the compendium at Liz Covart’s blog.
However, there are a few that are specifically for historians of Canada or that are frequently used by historians of Canada. They are:
Other really useful ones include:
- #dishist (disability history)
- #cdnpse (Canadian post secondary education)
Can’t find one you like? Feel free to create your own! Maybe we need a #unwrittenhistories one. Just saying. 😉
Hashtags are great for getting an overview of a particular subject. But let’s say you find a Tweet that seems to be a response, and want to find out more about the conversation. How do you do that?
To do this, first click on the tweet. The Tweet will pop out, as it has in this picture.
Then all you need to do is to scroll up or down. The conversation will display automatically, whether you are on a computer or a mobile device. It will look something like this.
Don’t forget to click on “view other replies,” which will allow you to see people responding specifically to a tweet rather than the conversation in general.
Using the List Function
Another great way to follow specific conversations is to set up Lists. Lists are basically like creating your own little news feed, and you’re only reading tweets by people you’ve selected. So, how do you do this?
On a computer, you can create a list easily. Either click on your profile picture, and then on “Lists” or just click on the “List” tab on your personal Twitter page.
Then just click on “Create Lists,” give your list a name (and a description if you’d like) and make it public or private.
This will bring you to a second screen that looks like this.
Then all you need to do is start adding people!
Creating lists on your mobile device works in much the same way. The only real difference is that to create a list, click on the gear symbol to find the drop-down menu. At least, that’s how it works for IOS. If you use an Android, Google can help you. 😉
Once you’ve put people on your list, you’re ready to go. To view your lists, do the same thing you did to create a list, only this time, select the name of the list you want to see. Your screen will look something like this:
Subscribing to Lists
If you’re like lazy like me, you can also opt to just subscribe to someone else’s list! Many people have public lists that anyone can subscribe to. To access someone else’s list, just go to their profile page and click on the “Lists” tab again. Then just click on the subscribe button on the left side of the screen, and you’re all set. You can access the list the same way you access your own.
Finding People to Follow
Of course, once you have a list, you will need to find people to follow. You can do this several ways. The easiest is just to type in their name and hope it comes up. You can also find people by looking for them in a hashtag search. Just see who is using the hashtag you are interested in!
If you’d like more general suggestions, there are two great hashtags to know about. The first, is #scholarsunday. This hashtag was created by Dr. Raul Pachego-Vega as a way to spotlight the accounts of great scholars. People can post their suggestions for great accounts to follow using the hashtag. Incidentally, you should follow Dr. Pacheco-Vega, because he’s hilarious and has great advice on academic writing.
The second is #FollowWomenWednesday. This hashtag was created by Megan Kate Nelson. She created it as a way to spotlight female scholars, intellectuals, politicians, etc… As she explains in this blog post, she has noted that content created by men tends to get shared more often than content authored by women. Just think of how many “best of” lists you’ve seen that have no or only one woman on them. Also, follow her tweets, because they are awesome, funny, and very insightful.
Canadian History on Twitter
So now that you’ve got the basics down, I have a few lists of accounts that most historians of Canada should know about. I presume I don’t need to remind you to follow @andreaeidinger to get curated content on Canadian history every day, do I?
Canadian History Institutions on Twitter
Probably the most important one here is the Canadian Historical Association. Their account is @CndHistAssoc, and is updated on a regular basis. And don’t forget Library and Archives Canada. Their English Twitter account is @LibraryArchives and their French Twitter account is @BiblioArchives.
Some other useful accounts:
- University Affairs @UA_magazine
- Canadian Association of University Teachers @CAUT_ACPPU
- Osgoode Society @OsgoodeSociety
- Association of Canadian Studies @CanadianStudies
- Historica Canada @HistoricaCanada
- Canadian Encyclopedia @CdnEncyclopedia
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada @ (English) and @ (French).
Canadian History Departments on Twitter
Many history departments at Canadian universities have their own Twitter accounts there days. They vary considerably in terms of how frequently they update, and most only update sporadically. But it’s always good to keep them on your radar.
Please note that the accounts listed below are the accounts for the history departments. I just thought I’d save me time and you irritation by not writing “History Department” a million times. 😉
If a history department is not listed here, that is because it does not have its own Twitter account. If you are a member of those departments, all I can say is “come on in, the water’s fine!”
Also, I have only included history departments here, not classics, humanities, or student societies, and I have only included history departments at universities (not at colleges).
- University of Calgary @ucalgaryhist
- University of British Columbia @UBC_History
- University of Northern British Columbia @unbcHistory
- Simon Fraser University @SFUhistory
- Vancouver Island University @VIUHist
- University of Victoria @UVicHistory
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University @KPUHistory
- Memorial University @MUNhistory
- Acadia University @AcadiaHistClass
- Dalhousie University @notyetpast
- Mount Saint Vincent University @MSVU_History
- St. Francis Xavier University @HistoryatX
- Brock University @HistoryBrockU
- York University @yorkhist
- Waterloo University @waterloohistory
- Ryerson University @HistoryRyerson
- McMaster University @Mac_History
- Windsor University @UWindsorHist
- Guelph University @UGuelphHist
- University of Western Ontario @westernuHistory
- Huron University @HistoryHuron
- Nipissing University @NipUHistDept – no longer exists
- Laurentian University @luhistory
- Queen’s University @
- University of Toronto – Massey College @
- l’Université de Montréal @UdeM_Histoire
- University of Saskatchewan @usaskhist
NB: At this time, there are only colleges in the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories.
Canadian History Academic Journals on Twitter
There are a few Canadian history journals that are on Twitter these days. These are great accounts to follow, since they often post announcements for upcoming releases as well as calls-for-papers. Here are some that you should follow:
- BC Studies @BCstudies
- Acadiensis @Acadiensis
- Histoire Sociale/Social History @Sociale_History
- Canadian Journal of History @CJH_ACH
- University of Toronto Press Journals Generally (including the CHR) @utpjournals
Canadian History Collaborative Blogs on Twitter
While entirely online, these blogs function effectively as peer-reviewed open-access journals. They feature regular articles by academics on a range of topics.
- Borealia @earlycanada (Early Canadian History)
- NiCHE @NiCHE_Canada (The Network in Canadian History and Environment)
- don’t miss their sister account, @NiCHE_NS , which is for new scholars in environmental history
- Active History (Canadian history generally, mostly political) @ActiveHist
- Histoire Engagée (Active History’s French-language sister website) @HistoireEngagee
- Champlain Society (public awareness and accessibility to historical records) @ChamplainSoc
- Beyond Borders (The Wilson Centre Blog) @
Canadian History Conferences on Twitter
Each conference will generally have its own hashtag. However, they are usually consistent in format. Fore example, the CHA annual meeting always uses #CHASHC20**. So for example, the most recent annual meeting’s hashtag was #CHASHC2016, the year before that it was #CHAHSC2015, and so on.
You can usually find out about which hashtag your conference is using by going to their association’s website.
Did you want to see the Tweets from the latest CHA meeting? You can do that by going here!
Historians of Canada to Follow on Twitter
If you’d like a comprehensive list of historians of Canada online, please refer to the list in the menu above, which I’ve also linked here. The list is organized by type of history, and contains information not just about Twitter, but also personal websites.
However, if you’re new to Twitter and want some suggestions on accounts to follow, I’ve got you covered. Below are a few of the most active accounts by historians of Canada, and some of my personal favourites. While I’ve put descriptions of their subject areas, these are generalizations regarding content on their feeds.
- Dominique Marshall (general Canadian history) @Dominiq92516944
- Adele Perry (colonial history) @AdelePerry
- Jessica DeWitt (environmental history) @JessicaMDeWitt
- Keith Grant (early Canadian history) @keithsgrant
- Ian Mosby (food and colonial history) @Ian_Mosby
- Ian Milligan (digital history) @ianmilligan1
- Tina Adcock (environmental history) @TinaAdcock
- Elise Chenier (history of sexuality) @elisechenier
- Maddie Knickerbocker (Indigenous history) @maddieknicker
- Sean Kheraj (environmental history) @seankheraj
- Adam Gaudry (Métis history) @
Other Great Accounts to Follow
These are some of the best history accounts on Twitter, at least in my opinion. 😉
- Ann M. Little @Historiann
- Notches Blog @NotchesBlog
- Nursing Clio @nursingclio
- Children’s History Society @histchild
- Clare Dale @profhistorygeek
- Lindsey Fitzharris @DrLindseyFitz
- Liz Covart @lizcovart
- Age of Revolutions @HistorioBLOG
- The Junto @thejuntoblog
- JSTOR Daily @JSTOR_Daily
- Kevin Gannon @TheTattooedProf
- Claire Potter @TenuredRadical
So there you go! You’re all set to navigate the world of Canadian history on Twitter. Don’t forget to add me and let me know if you liked this post!
Do you have any other suggestions for people to follow or for finding Canadian history content on Twitter? Is there a hashtag I missed that you love? Let me know in the comments below!
I have two pieces of news to share! This week there will be two brand new blog posts, so don’t forget to check back on Friday. And next week there will be exciting things happening at Unwritten Histories! It’s Vikings Week! We’ll have three full blog posts going out on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all looking at the recent announcement regarding a possible new Canadian Viking site. All this in addition to our regular Sunday roundup, so don’t miss it!