Tweeting Point of View

Twitter seems a natural place for analyzing sourcing. I tweet some, and use the site for information on history education, public affairs, and soccer. Tweets in the last category could be useful in the first, because they can show the influence. Tweets from English Premier League teams during matches often reveal points of view, without affecting the veracity of the information. This distinction can be difficult for students, who often look to categorize sources as good or bad. “Bias” can stand in for quality. Historical thinking is hard. Tweets like the ones below, from the April 24 Merseyside Derby, can help students to see how bias always has a direction and does not necessarily affect reliability.

Both tweets communicate the same basic information: Liverpool scored a goal. Students can also find differences in the tweets, and draw conclusions from them. We could ask them: Why did only one account include the name of the goal scorer? Why did the Everton tweet come out two minutes earlier? The varied numbers of likes and replies also shows the differences in audiences for the Tweets. Following this line of thinking could help some students to see how sources tell historians many things.

Obviously, @LFC is biased toward their football team, as seen in the follow up Tweet, below, further celebrating the goal scorer. But, corroborating evidence shows that Andrew Robertson aka Robbo aka Andy did indeed score a goal.

By Eric Beckman

I am a veteran high school history teacher interested in decolonizing history curricula, anti-racist pedagogy, and e-learning.

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