The Twitter stream from the 2017 annual Australian Historical Association conference at the University of Newcastle last week broke the records. The conference’s #OzHA2017 Twitter stream had more tweets and more participants than in the previous five years.
During the five days of this year’s conference at the University of Newcastle sent over four thousand tweets. This online reporting of the conference enables interested people from around the world to follow the latest work of historians living in Australia.
The number of people tweeting during the conference also increased this year. For these statistics, I have only counted those who have sent ten or more tweets during the conference. This makes the count more reflective of the number of people who show committed support for the hashtag.
The #OzHA conference hashtag was first used at the Adelaide conference in 2012. You can read how the hashtag started in a post I wrote in 2015. Since that year the conference tweets have been archived thanks to British historian, Sharon Howard. This year and last year the conference tweets have been saved using Martin Hawksey’s Twitter archiving tool. I now have five years of spreadsheets listing the #OzHA tweets. You can access the #OzHA2017 Twitter archive here.
The tweets are harvested via the Twitter API (application programming interface). It is important to note that when the Twitter stream is heavy, Twitter does not guarantee that their API will harvest all tweets. So the statistics I am providing are reasonable approximations rather than precise measures.
This year I have pondered another issue. The tweets that are most valuable to the conference Twitter stream are original tweets. Retweets are great because it is a method where we can supplement our tweeting in order to better inform our followers of what is going on at the conference. And I know, I know… a lot of people say that a retweet is not an endorsement, but if I see a good tweet, why reinvent the wheel? A retweet in many cases is an acknowledgement that someone has been first to tweet something and encapsulated the thought well.
But overall the best conference Twitter stream is one that has many people tweeting (preferrably from diverse backgrounds) composing their own pithy summations of what they see and hear. A multitude of voices adds to the depth of commentary on Twitter and also gives a better chance that papers at concurrent sessions will be reported. I wanted to acknowledge that in this post, so I sorted the spreadsheet to identify retweets and duplicates (where someone retweets their own tweet). From this, I made a list of those people who sent the largest number of original tweets. The top ten #OzHA2017 tweeps are:
These historians were responsible for 64% of all original tweets. I am pleased with this list because during my trawling through the conference Twitter stream I had already noticed that these people and organisations consistently sent well-composed tweets during the conference.
The #OzHA2017 tweeps tweet about history throughout the year using the #twitterstorians hashtag used by historians throughout the English-speaking world, and the #OzHist hashtag. There are also some interesting history tweeps who did great conference tweeting who are not on the list. I have included over twenty of the top conference tweeters on my #OzHA2017 Tweeps list on Twitter. Subscribe to the list and follow expert commentary on all matters history (and some fun tweets too) throughout the year.
In tomorrow’s post I will delve deeper into the conference and look at the topics discussed at the conference. Drop by tomorrow morning and start your weekend by reading about the latest developments in history that excite Australian historians today.
I have blogged about each Australian History Association conference for six years. Catch up on the recent history of this annual conference by browsing through my catalogue of past conference posts.
Further Reading and Resources
This is the first in a series of posts about the 2017 Australian Historical Association Conference. Read the others:
- Post 2: ‘The Big Sessions at the 2017 Australian Historical Association Conference‘ about the keynotes and plenary panels at the conference.
- Post 3: ‘Topics that Interest Historians in Australia‘ about the top topics from the concurrent sessions.
- Post 4: ‘Papers and Great History Websites Shared at #OzHA2017‘
You can still access some resources about the 2017 Australian Historical Association conference:
- Download the conference program, abstracts and author biographies from the conference website.
- Access the archived tweets from the conference.
- Check out the network diagram of the conference tweets.
- Find out more about the Australian Historical Association.
- If you want to keep up with the latest discussions and news about history, subscribe to my #OzHA2017 Tweeps list.
I have been blogging about conferences since 2012:
- How did the #OzHA Twitter hashtag start? Read about the history of the #OzHA hashtag in one of my conference posts from 2015.
- Read about Jill Roe’s cameo appearance amongst a group of #OzHA tweeps at the 2012 conference in my review of her Miles Franklin biography (hint: just search the page for ‘Aside’ which is towards the end of the review).
- Browse through my posts about the Australian Historical Association Conferencessince 2012.
- The first conference I blogged about was the American Historical Association conference of 2012. Read ‘Nearly There: Experiencing a Conference Online‘ and read the comment by journalist, Jennifer Howard, about why journalists value people who tweet and blog conferences.