Social Media as a New Form of Oral History?

While reading the excerpt from “The Voice of the Past: Oral History,” I kept thinking about Twitter.  Because of new technologies and different platforms, such as social media and blogging, we are now able to record our lives in ways people were never able to generations before us.  The passing down of oral history through generations is such a crucial part of our own history, however, these new ways of recording our lives as they happen are so amazing.  In the reading, the author said, “it can be used to change the focus of history itself, and open up new areas of inquiry; it can break down the barriers between teachers and students, between generations, between educational institutions and the world outside; and in the writing of history – whether in books or museums, or radio and film – it can give back to the people who made and experienced history, through their own words, a central place.”  Platforms like Twitter, for example, are almost a central place for oral history, new ideas, and areas of inquiry to be recorded and documented in real time, as they happen.

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The author also states, “oral history is not necessarily an instrument for change.”  Well now, social media IS and has become such a huge instrument for change.  Different social movements have begun and awareness has been raised thanks to Twitter and other forms of social media.

Oral history not only has to do with change, it has to do with the simple recording of history.  Bloggers are almost, in their own way, oral historians.  They are writing down things they learn, experiences they have, and obstacles they encounter in their daily lives to share with people near and far who are reading their words.  The social messages of history have changed which has lead the recording of history to become more democratic which has opened doors for people and communities to be able to write their own history in their own words so it can be passed down from generation to generation as it was said in real time.

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Social Media as a New Form of Oral History?

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