Using Twitter to Encourage Engagement in Urban History
You’ve all seen them, the plaques with years on them displayed around your city. They commemorate people, places or events that are import to the history of the city. Maybe you even stop to read them. Most likely you take them for granted and walk right by. How do we get people to really engage with these signposts of the city’s history?
In the City of Toronto, an innovative project took place that transformed the city into a history scavenger hunt. In response to proposed cuts to Heritage Toronto, an arms length organization that oversees heritage programs in the city, such as erecting plaques, and David Wencer (aka @Heritagerambler) a local heritage lover, organized a plaque-a-thon. The point of the exercise was to get all 250 Heritage Toronto plaques tweeted about over a weekend.
Participants were asked to use the Heritage Toronto map of the plaques, find them and tweet about either the content or an observation about each one. Alternatively, participants were asked to note places that should have plaques but do not.