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Historical social media creation tool

lincoln selfie

Imagine a social media campaign during the 1860 election.

What would Twitter posts from the Lincoln campaign look like? How might Stephen Douglas have used Facebook? Breckinridge and Instagram? Would Bell have posted video?

One of the conversations we had today in our spring social studies PLC was the use of social media tools both with current and historical events. Is it productive to encourage the use of social media and smart devices in the classroom? We didn’t really solve anything.

But we had fun discussing it.

We did chat about some instructional possibilities. One of those involved having kids develop a social media campaign for past elections. If current social media tools were available to historical figures, what would the branding look like? What platform would people of the past have used? What would they say? Could kids take speeches, letters, photos, from past elections and create messages for social media?

I think the answer is yes.

I think it needs to be crafted and structured well but I think asking kids to use primary source evidence wrapped inside modern tools could be a way to help them think a bit more deeply about the messages contained within that evidence.

One tool that could be use for this is something Recite. Recite is a quick and easy tool that lets you and students create visual products that can be used in both current and historical social media posts. No account creation needed. Easy to use. Easy to share.

Simply type in a message, select a style, and click Create. Easy peasy. Take a screenshot or share via traditional social media options and you’re good to go.

recite 1

recite 2

So if Lincoln’s staff were to use Recite during the 1860 campaign, it might look like this:

recite 3

Taken from his speech in New Haven, CT in March of 1860.

Your thoughts?





9 Comments Post a comment
  1. williamberry11 #

    I love this idea! Thank you for sharing. This particular comment also struck a chord with me:

    “One of the conversations we had today in our spring social studies PLC was the use of social media tools both with current and historical events. Is it productive to encourage the use of social media and smart devices in the classroom?”

    I’ve struggled with this question too and feel that some of the best uses of social media always come back to the essential question of “how will the social media outlets of today impact the way that society learns, understands, and interprets history in the future?” Comparing social media outlets of today with primary and secondary documents of the past has led to some great discussions.

    April 14, 2016
    • glennw #


      Thanks for the great comment! I think these sorts of conversations need to be constant and ongoing. These are powerful tools – both good and bad – and we need to be aware of what we can and should do with them.

      Good luck as you continue to lead the discussion!


      April 14, 2016
  2. Jenny #

    I love this post. There are so many ways to use social media and what students know to connect to events of the past.

    April 14, 2016
    • glennw #


      Thanks for the quick comment! I agree. There are so many things that are possible – one of my favorite activities that I didn’t talk about asks kids to create an iPhone from the Past graphic organizer. As in – if Lincoln had a cell phone in 1865, what apps would he be using, who would be texting him, who’s in his contact list? And then ask kids to provide rationale for their answers.

      Have a great week!


      April 14, 2016
  3. Reblogged this on The DigiTeacher.

    May 18, 2016
  4. I teach an online upper-level undergraduate college course on Trends in Digital & Social Media. One of the activities we do is to select an event in history (must before the modern era of social media) and reimagine the event if today’s SM had existed then as it does now.

    The purpose of the activity is for students to discover how, when you deconstruct/reconstruct an event where everyone knows everything in an instant, the power dimensions in the communication environment are “flat”, and the reach is global, there is a fundamental transformation of the human political experience.

    It may be a bit advanced a topic to get into in K-12, such as in this article. But I feel it is worth mentioning that speaking through the personas of historical figures is only one dimension of the impact of SM. If the historical figures were operating under the conditions of “Total Information Awareness”, perhaps they may have acted differently? An intriguing question to ask. Would Lincoln have been able to push through the Emancipation Proclamation if Twitter users had leaked his intentions as he was conjuring support through the proverbial “sausage works”?

    May 18, 2016
    • glennw #


      Thanks for the comment. You’re exactly right – the social media environment impacts the decision making process is many ways. and it is one that our high school students need to be thinking about. And your Lincoln question is an example of a great writing prompt – perhaps social media would have hurt his chances but it may have also helped to gather support.

      Appreciate your asking us to think in different directions!


      May 18, 2016

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