Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tweet nothings

I know it has been ages and I do wish there was a blog shorthand for 'I'm really sorry, I'm rubbish but please forgive me because look, I'm back!'...

There has been lots going on and I'm sure everyone's summer has been going zoink with either olympomania or olympovoidance. We got right into the swing of it with excessive hours of TV viewing and three lots of tickets. I even bought a red, white and blue t-shirt so I could blend into the crowd. Loved every second of it.

But that's not what tempts me out of bloggy lurking.

Today I have been glued to twitter. I am a terrible lurker there too, almost never tweeting but always following something or other. I have a habit of following people who are topical for some reason: Andy Murray during Wimbledon, Jenson Button during the F1 season, the Chris Moyles Show crew as they built up to the finale this week, Claire Balding during the olympics... you get the picture.

I also follow a few historians, which (I'm not ashamed to admit) started with following Dan Snow. He recommended a few folk, I followed them, now they make up a fair percentage of what I read. And I love them, because some of them do 'real time' history. By this, I mean that they recount historical events in the timeframe that they happened, via tweets.

I first found this last Autumn, as I got completely addicted to the events that led up to the arrest of Guy Fawkes and the pursuit of his conspirators, with subsequent 'questioning' and execution. The chase of the conspirators was brilliant, with them galloping across the country finding places to hide.

Today it has been the Battle of Britain, which has been added to by pictures and comments by the pilots of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. It has really illustrated that the odds faced by the pilots were incredibly dire, that they were fighting in the knowledge that there were no reserves and no backup plan. In one instance, a large formation of Luftewaffe fighters were confronted by a tiny group of Spitfires, and not believing anyone would go up against such a vastly superior force without significant backup, they dispersed and took evasive action rather than taking them head on. And pilots that survived being shot down made superhuman efforts to get to airfields and get back in the air, fast.

The size of our debt to them is staggering.

In real time, it's not just a story - it feels like reporting, and much more engaging as a result.
If you are a tweeterist, these folk are great:

@thehistoryguy (Dan Snow)
@HistoryNeedsYou (doing WWII but also does other periods)

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