For my final digital project, I created a twitter account from which I will tweet daily excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt’s “My Day” column. The twitter account is @mydaybyeleanor, and I plan to begin tweeting on April 17th. This is something of an arbitrary day, but I wanted to pick a really momentous excerpt to start with, so I chose Eleanor’s first column after the death of her husband, which was published on April 17, 1945.
I have also created a google sheet with tweets prepared to be scheduled. My method for filling out the spreadsheet began with looking at important dates. I made sure to take excerpts from columns on days that were historically significant, such as pearl harbor, D-day, election days, etc. I then used the index to further find important columns. I pulled columns where people are mentioned that might be interesting to a modern audience (or just me). For example, I made sure to include mentions of people like Walt Disney and Prince Charles, but also people like Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower. I then used the index to look at columns with mentions of organizations like Girl Scouts and the DAR. My next step was to use the index to find mentions of specific places. With every step of the search to this point, I would read the column, find a part I found interesting, then go to that date on the spreadsheet and insert it. This helped me to randomize the order that they will be tweeted because the year is an arbitrary criterion. At this point, I had about one third of the spreadsheet filled out across all 12 months of the year. I want to make sure that I have a tweet ready for every day of the next couple months, so I went day by day in the months of April, May, and June, then randomly chose a year. At some points the column I picked randomly had nothing exciting, so I just looked at the next open date.
As of right now, I have tweets scheduled for the month of April, with tweets planned for May and June. As I progress, I will add more tweets to the schedule where there are holes. The tweets will follow this format:
[Date written]: “excerpt.”
Read more here:[Link to column].
There are certain instances where I might need to explain what was happening in the world to prompt such a column, in which case I will add that to the “read more” portion. Some of them also need to be shortened to fit in a tweet, which I will do as I add them to twitter.
The link to the spreadsheet is here.
4 Replies to “Project Draft: My Day on Twitter”
Katie, your project is so fascinating! I think that this is a really fun way to engage people with history. I really like the aspect of including the columns that mention other famous figures that will catch viewers’ eye. I definitely think that people would be more inclined to click on and interact with something that mentions figures that they are familiar with or like. I mean, I’m definitely interested in what Eleanor Roosevelt has to say about people like Walt Disney and Winston Churchill! Again, this project is really cool and I can’t wait to see the final product!
Great to hear how this project is coming along! I think your idea of having a google sheet with all of these queued up for a year worth of tweeting is a great idea. It’s clear from the google sheet that you have done a lot of work on this! I think it’s also clear that this would be a really interesting project for folks to follow along with over time. The google sheet seems like a useful way to organize all of this info but beyond that it’s also great that you are going to have a copy of all of it outside of twitter. That way if twitter ever shuts down entirely you still have a copy of all your work and you could very well relaunch this in the future on whatever social media platform comes after it.
The approach you described to picking which of these to post on a given day makes a lot of sense. When you do reference organizations in the tweets that are still around, like the Girl Scouts, it strikes me that it may make sense to @ them in the tweet. There may be cases where they might reply on twitter or retweet the message and get it out to a broader audience.
In any event, this is great work. I will be curious to hear how it goes after you start putting out daily tweets in the project later this month. -Trevor
I love this, Katie! I really like the importance of choosing Eleanor’s first column after FDR’s death. I think choosing that date shows Eleanor’s importance as first lady, but also shows her humanity and identity outside of her role. Hopefully, these tweets will gain a lot of traction, I will definitely be following along to read them! To be honest, I had no idea about the “My Day” column before you presented this idea in class, so I am especially excited to read her thoughts. I think this is a great product of digital history and public history. Great work!
Hi, Katie! I cannot wait to follow your account when it becomes active on the 17th! I like how picked excerpts that would draw people in pertaining to certain famous places and people; the one on then-Prince Charles is especially interesting since he is a contemporary figure who might have recollections of meeting Eleanor Roosevelt. Since you picked numerous topics and famous people, hopefully, many people will be attracted to your “My Day” account. Seems interesting and a great way for people to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt and famous events, places, and people throughout 20th century history!