We have discussed the role of a social media in the class already indirectly. This time, we will be focusing on how the roles of professional historians changed with the ‘introduction of history’ into Web 2.0; a ‘design’ which encompasses information sharing and, as the proper terminology goes, participatory actions. We are experiencing internet information sharing all over the place—in our workplaces, at our leisure time by chatting and exchanging e-mails with friends or co-workers. It is inevitable these days. Even older generations are turning more and more into this, once one may have called it, ‘a crazy medium.’ However, it is a definitely useful medium in sharing historical information with the audience as well. Museums, in order to be more attractive, and thus be able to survive financially, are turning more frequently into, at least sharing some information on their exhibits online, thus creating ‘a craving’ to visit their institution. Museum curators, as one of the articles that we read, are turning more into blogs,-creating them with an aim of causing traffic’ to visit and pay the ticket by physically visiting their place. Some of them, and rightfully so, are creating weekly blogs in order to maintain their active approach—so it wouldn’t be seen as if they have given up on their efforts to attract more audiences. One article suggests that museum curators are still the main force in shaping those blog discussions, and by that, they are still ‘showing’ their authoritative approach. In my view, they have to—however, they still should be open to suggestions and, when appropriate, criticisms.
The social media is not only used to attract more visitors to museums, but also to make suggestions to the museums. If museum curators are flexible and are not totally ‘stuck in the past’, they should be receptive to innovative thoughts of Web 2.0 users, provided they are thoughtful and time worthy.
Many historians are also using social networking sites to gather valuable information on various projects that they work on. For instance, collection of digital artifacts about an event that happened; a memory of which may fade away with time, is an important element of data gathering and data managament. Many of us are currently working on a variety of projects; while collecting data for our purposes,we may be using social networking sites, exchanging electronic information that we may find valuable to us when preparing our exhibits.