10.19.2008

The After-Life's Jumped on the Social Networking Bandwagon

The after-life has jumped on the social networking bandwagon as 23rd Pres. Benjamin Harrison is posting on the micro-blogging site Twitter. It's an interesting experiment in historiographic metafiction sidling up and wedging itself into the evolving and porous fabric of social networking.

Some tweets are interesting.

Some are kinda funny as he interacts with other dubious Twitterers.

The "associate" of Mr. Harrison claims they are not affiliated with the Pres. Benjamin Harrison Home in Indianapolis but knows Mr. Harrison VERY well. Knows his personality, voice and history. They say that the idea behind the Twitter presence is to inform people today of some of the parallels of history from 100 years ago.

Set in the year 1900, the last full year of Harrison's life. Mr. Harrison has one foot firmly planted in the 19th Century and those views often contrast when he interacts with contemporary figures who have one foot firmly planted in the awaiting 20th. Newspaper articles, fun facts, books, illustrations and just life observations by Harrison will be featured.

Interactivity, open-mindedness, a sense of humor and a suspension of disbelief is asked and probably needed. The idea is that in the year 1900, Mr. Harrison received a steampunk looking "contraption" on his door-step. In it were instructions of how to link it to his outlets and another note explaining how imperative to the future all of this is. He then begins corresponding with his associate in the 21st Century, then with his audience. As his comfort with it grows, his "tweets" will be a bit less formal. He has no idea why this is happening or what it is he is supposed to say to the future.

They hope to inform his audience of a somewhat forgotten American President and show some of the events that happened during his presidency. To interact in character AND with historical accuracy and to maintain respect for his memory as a President but to have a bit of fun too. They have plans to "live-tweet" with teachers and their classes. They ask anyone interested to DM @Pres_BHarrison for information.

So go on, have some fun and follow along @Pres_BHarrison on Twitter.

Mini Bio:
Benjamin Harrison reached the rank of brigadier general during the Civil War, and served in the U.S. Senate for six years. As an odd tidbit of trivia, Harrison was the last bearded president we’ve had. Harrison’s presidency offers a dichotomy of success and failure. He made a number of foreign relations successes during his presidency, setting in motion the U.S.’s backing of the Panama Canal, the annexation of Hawaii, creation of the modern steel-hauled navy and setting up Samoa as a protectorate are among his foreign policy actions that did more in the late 19th century to push America toward its superpower status in the world. On the other hand, he was, at best, a mediocre domestic policy president, pushing forth a number of decisions that helped bring on, but didn't solely cause the depression of 1893, the worst in the nation’s history to that point. He was also seemingly completely unaware of the strife facing the poorest Americans. Though, on the other hand, he did focus great energy on resource conservation and the rights of African-Americans, much more so than other presidents of the era.

1 comment:

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    ReplyDelete