For established news organizations with extensive archives of photos and news pages, an anniversary can be a good reason to dust off and give new life to original content. That’s what @Newsweek did when it decided to live-tweet the entire Kennedy presidency, from his election to assassination, which happened 50 years ago this week.
SPEECHLESS. http://t.co/oKdS4H7Ybc pic.twitter.com/YNrVm8WGzK— Newsweek History 101 ( @NWKHistory101) November 7, 2013
“We imagined what it would be like to tweet Camelot in the Age of the Listicle.”
The newly-created account “Newsweek History 101” (@NWKHistory101), commemorates the era with 101 Tweets that recount the past in the present tense, and offer up images, archive graphics, maps and links to stories from the Newsweek archive.
200K March on DC. #JFK watches history on TV. Being booed better than being beaten. http://t.co/p4b4HllROD pic.twitter.com/6jTSYZ63Vk— Newsweek History 101 ( @NWKHistory101) November 7, 2013
Newsweek editor-in-chief Jim Impoco (@jimpoco) says: “We knew the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination was upon us and we knew that our archives would be plumb-full of stories about his administration’s 1,000 days. We didn’t want to do the usual get-a-smart-historian-to-write-something-sort-of-smart thing. So we tried to imagine what it would be like if we had been tweeting Camelot all along, in the Age of the Listicle.”
Three shots fired. President hit. World’s longest nine minutes as car races to nearest hospital. http://t.co/oKdS4H7Ybc— Newsweek History 101 ( @NWKHistory101) November 7, 2013
The Tweets are written in the language of today in a witty hat-tip to the best of live news reporting. Impoco says this was important: “We wanted the tone to reflect the 140-character sensibility. We wanted that slightly incongruous feeling of tweeting JFK news in real time.”
Ready for your close-up? Cuba most photographed 44,218 sq. miles of real estate in the world. http://t.co/OBEjbX2Q0h pic.twitter.com/Xsv6nGkHX7— Newsweek History 101 ( @NWKHistory101) November 7, 2013
As for future forays into the past, Impoco says, “We want to go back to this well again. We’ve got 80 years of archival material to play with.”
Do you know of any more innovative uses of Twitter? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Editor's note: As of November 2017, Twitter has increased the character count of Tweets in certain languages to make it easier to share what’s happening.