On a day-to-day basis, my main interaction with digital history and digital tools revolves around my role as Social Media Editor for the Network in Canadian History and Environment (NiCHE- niche-canada.org). I am responsible for NiCHE’s Twitter, Facebook, and Google + presence. Additionally, I also manage the Twitter accounts for our History Graduate Student Committee (HGSC) and the HGIS Lab.
I take the responsibility of supporting environmental history, historical gis, and the work of HGSC graduate students seriously. In my role as NiCHE social media editor, I have four main goals. My first and primary goal is to publicize the blog posts and announcements posted on the NiCHE website. Secondly, I seek to keep up with the latest environmental history on the web and make this research, call-for-papers, and writing accessible to everyone by playing a large part in managing the environmental history hashtag: #envhist. Thirdly, I work to support and publicize the work of all environmental historians, from Canada and elsewhere, and to help foster networking opportunities, particularly between new scholars and those who are more established in their career. Lastly, I seek to make environmental history interesting, relevant, and accessible to the general public.
My main tool is Hootsuite, which is a free social media platform that one can use to manage several social media accounts at once. I have several “feeds,” which provide up-to-the-minute access to the latest posts on Twitter about anything that mentions “environmental history,” includes the hashtag #envhist, or includes related hashtags such as #aghist (agriculturalhistory), #mininghistory, and #animalhistory. I also maintain a list of environmental history and environmental humanities (#envhum) accounts on Twitter. The list now has 764 members. My other main tool is Paper.li. Every day I publish and comb through the NiCHE #EnvHist Daily. This auto-generated paper uses an algorithm to combine all tweets made by Env-History-Humanities List members and all tweets that use #envhist or another related hashtag. The paper comes out daily at noon central time. This paper enables environmental historians to keep up with what others are tweeting that day about #envhist, as well as keep up with other historical topics and contemporary issues in which their colleagues are interested. My role as Social Media Editor enables me to both feed my passion for environmental history and fulfill my penchant for efficiency and organization.
Jessica is a PhD Candidate in the History Department at the University of Saskatchewan.