Whether it’s planning next year’s strategy, thinking about next weekend’s schedule, or exploring the next breakthrough technology, it seems that the pace at which we’re moving forward leaves little time to look to the past. Meanwhile, we each leave in our wake an absurd footprint of information–photos, videos, emails, text messages, voicemails, tweets, blog comments, product reviews, transaction histories, GPS coordinates, grumpy passive-aggressive notes to neighbors, and so on. Will these tidbits of tedium mixed with occasional moments of brilliance become our legacies? more
I am in Ottawa, Ontario, this week working with the Canadian War Museum. It’s been an interesting first twelve hours, as I have been engaged non-stop since my arrival.
After leading a workshop with the staff from the War Museum, I caught a taxi to my hotel down from Parliament Hill. Blocking my path was a large protest of Tamil Canadians who have converged to demand action by the Canadian government to establish a cease-fire in the war between the Sri Lankan army and the Tamil Tigers.
Between checking into my hotel and meeting friends for dinner, I walked up the hill and mingled with the protesters. It’s a peaceful demonstration with police redirecting traffic around the melange of ages, gender, and economic standing. With my iPhone camera and my Flip MinoHD, I captured sights and sounds of the daytime activities. After dinner, I returned for more and this time interviewed one of the student leaders involved.
Using the footage I took, I’ve pulled together this video to approximate my experience inside the protest:
In talking with the protesters, I was given the following website addresses. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information contained on them. In fact, I cannot even vouch for the facts and events the protesters shared with me about the current situation inside Sri Lanka. I can just share what was shared with me, including these websites they wanted the world to visit:
As I burn the midnight oil to write this post, I am preparing my final thoughts for the lunch keynote I’m presenting in about 11 hours. It’s entitled “The Battle for the Human Mind: Hosting the Great Debates of History Online” and will be part of a day long historical conference. As the only non-professional historian presenting, I get to explore digital and social media’s role in historical understanding.
A major issue I will be exploring is the tension between Experts and Amateurs. Now that we walk around with mobile devices, cameras, and video cameras in our pocket, we all can become citizen journalists and can use the bright, shiny light of the Internet to bring awareness to specific events and causes.
This has great implications. As I prepare for the historical conference, I wonder about many things. Specifically, I wonder where is the line between reporting on news events and interpreting that news as history? How will this affect our perceptions of history? Can everyone become historians?
I am an unabashed history buff. Ever since I was a young boy, I loved reading books, hearing stories, and watching movies about historical events. It was no surprise then that I completed a history minor while pursuing my undergraduate degree.
This past month, it was my pleasure to speak to the Class of 2008 of the Seminar for Historical Administration. This three-week seminar brings rising leaders from a variety of historical sites, museums, and societies together for an intensive program designed to shape the next generation of industry leaders. It made sense then that digital and social media would be a part of that education. more
Last week, Sarah Robbins and I were in Rochester, NY, for the American Association of State and Local History (AASLH) 2008 annual conference. We presented a 1/2 day workshop on Web 2.0 and how museums, historical societies, and other historical organizations can leverage social media. Here are the slides:
I love history and preparing for the conference made me realize how much more alive history can be with digital and social media. Knowing how much our past drives our present, the human race can gain much from understanding it better. With the digital and social media tools at our disposal today, anyone with Internet access can experience the past better and derive more insight from it.
As we got into the second half of our workshop, we switched to the user-generated content (UGC) approach to generate examples of the principles we were teaching. We had 28 people in the workshop representing 20 different organizations. Here are some of the cool examples that came out of our joint explorations: more