I think it was the John Quincy Adams Twitter feed, created by the Massachusetts Historical Society about a year ago, that first caught my attention. I had been using Twitter as a note-taking/sharing service for several months, but this exposed another interesting application of the service to me: Twitter as a way to tell stories.
Over the next few months, I every so often came across other groups or people trying the platform for storytelling, including the folks at TwHistory, sinking The Titanic again and recounting the 1847 Pioneer Trek of Mormon settlers and recreating Gettysburg. I also since have seen more attempts at this, even from purely fictional (and comedic) directions, such as the recutting of the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as a string of Tweets (they also incorporate FourSquare, but that's another blog post).
Anyway, when Dr. Rich Rice's Theories of Invention in Writing course this semester offered me an assignment involving creating a piece of rhetoric to be analyzed, "such as a scene from a movie," I thought this is just the excuse I need to try my own version of TwHistory (I really like that term) and to combine it with my work at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, and the Fort Vancouver Mobile project.
So I have this historical anecdote in hand, dug up by the project's assistant director Jon Nelson. This story, told through a variety of documents generated by different people, is related to the first module of the FVM project, recounting how Hawaiian pastor William Kaulehelehe was contacted and brought to Fort Vancouver in the mid-1800s. My plan is to create Twitter accounts for all of those characters and then tell the story, through their real words, via this modern form, then analyze the rhetoric they used to bring Kaulehelehe from his tropical paradise to this rainy frontier outpost. This all also will be delivered through a node in the Kaulehelehe module of the Fort Vancouver Mobile project, so I might end up creating a Twitter-like service to pull it off, just to give me a bit more control of the output. But we'll see.
To analyze the piece rhetorically, I plan to put together the story and have pop-up bubbles on a Camtasia-like presentation provide commentary on the rhetoric. How does that sound?
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