SocialMediaHistory – History on Instagram and TikTok

History is popular. Especially on social media. The project ‘SocialMediaHistory’, consisting of historians and members of the general public, aims to examine how history is represented, perceived and/or falsified on Instagram and TikTok. Additionally, we want to show which historical narratives are rarely or never told and whose perspectives are marginalised. We, the core team at SocialMediaHistory, consist of members of the universities of Hamburg and Bochum as well as the Kulturpixel e.V.

‘SocialMediaHistory’ is a citizen science project, which means that members of the public and scientists work together on establishing methods and processes of research, in addition to evaluating and publishing their collective results. Using online-meetings and workshops we collectively create tools for analysis and test ways of representing perspectives on the past on Instagram and TikTok.

What it's about!

We would like to highlight and analyse well made, factual and diverse examples of historical narratives on social media. Through this, we hope to inspire people to view historical narratives on social media more critically and motivate them to become analytical narrators on history themselves. With the help of our workshops and through our digital learning materials, people will be enabled to acquire practical knowledge in the scientific methods of historical science and in regards to Instagram and TikTok. Furthermore we aim to develop and test Design Thinking as a scientific method in the field of historical science.

Citizen Scientists

Cooperative research takes on two forms: On one hand, we work in joint effort with a permanent advisory board (our ‘Dabei-Rat’), who, in addition to aiding in our decision making, supports and advises us. On the other, we organize and hold four workshops (two in 2022 and two in 2023), in which we discover, research and test historical representations on Instagram and TikTok. The citizen scientists will thus develop scientific and so called ‘historical type competence’, which in turn can be utilised to analyse and produce historical narratives in different media. The results will be published as open educational resources, thus being available to the general public. Our Workshops are accessible to all. They are free of charge and will alternate between Bochum and Hamburg. The details concerning dates, information and registration will be available here and on our social media channels.

We want to

Analyse historical narratives on Instagram and TikTok
Produce social media orientated, digital learning material in cooperation with citizen scientists
Experiment with historical and scientific representation and – together with our Dabeirat – convey our research on Instagram and TikTok
Motivate people to explore history on social media and create an awareness for various narratives and their consequences such as hate speech.
Inspire people to produce their own fact-based, historical narratives on Instagram and TikTok
Publish our results in a scientific context in conjunction with our DabeiRat