This was not my intended topic for today’s post, but with so much history this week I thought it was a necessary post. A couple of months ago I wrote about creating and using Twitter and what it means to us in the free-choice learning field. With the 24-hour news cycle, social media, and even blogs we get news quickly. We are constantly connected through our computers and smart phones. How were people connected to news 150 years ago? 50 years ago? In those years two significant events happened that changed our nation’s history: the Gettysburg Address and President Kennedy’s assassination.
This past week PBS aired a program about Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The focus was on how he used the telegraph to connect to the country, how the telegraph allowed him to “feel the pulse” of the country and ultimately shape the words he used at Gettysburg. Lincoln used the telegraph as a tool for taking in information and for sending information out. Lincoln used the newest, quickest way of communication in his day just as we all use Facebook and Twitter for news and information today. One of the speakers on the show even said, “Lincoln would have been big time on Twitter”.
And what if Twitter existed 50 years ago? NPR drew me in this morning using the Twitter handle @todayin1963 to live tweet the events of the day President Kennedy was pronounced dead. The tweets, however, are ongoing as news continues to develop as though we’re using Twitter in 1963. Would this media source have changed the facts (accurate or not) people heard that day or would it just be a different media source to hear it through?
How we receive our news and how we share it is ever-changing. We’ll always have a new technology that lets us get that much closer to what’s happening in our world. For Lincoln’s generation is was the telegraph and for my generation it’s Twitter.
As a side note, you can follow the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum on Twitter @ALPLM, where they often post Lincoln quotes.