Review of #WWTG – Twitter, Classics and TV

Twitter is a very useful tool for Classicists. Whether it is termed a “micro-blogging site” or a “social network”, it serves to connect people who have become acquainted with each other, or people with a common purpose. On this year’s American Independence Day many settled in front of the TV at 9pm watching BBC2, some with a cup of tea, coffee or Pimms, some with iPad, smartphone or laptops. The latter may well have been connected by the hashtag #WWTG.

Image for Who Were the Greeks?

(c) BBC

@ClassColl was set up last September under the vague idea of” bouncing Classicsy news to twitterers with an interest in Classics.” I had been looking after the official twitter account for the Classical Association conference in 2012 (@CAIsca2012, the  conference with an otter as a logo). The conference was an eye-opener in terms of getting to know the use of Twitter amongst Classicists and gave me the idea that a Twitter account bouncing Classics news would be useful for others. Facebook, Google+, WordPress and Scoop.It followed, in that order.

Naturally Classics Collective would be interested in the Twitter offering for Who were the Greeks, the programme ably presented by Dr. Michael Scott of University of Warwick on the last two Thursdays. Scott already has a strong presence on Twitter under @DrMichaelCScott; Classicists following Scott would have known the progamme from conception to the TV box. What was refreshing about the programme was Scott’s effort and success in carrying out a parallel, interactive broadcast on Twitter. It was concurrent to the programme and ran under the hashtag #WWTG (I think Twitter deletes Tweets after a while so, at the time of writing, I was not able to access Tweets from the first programme).

Before each programme, Michael Scott advertised the hashtag and offered twitterers-viewers to answer questions and read comments which were tweeted with Scott’s account tagged or with the hashtag. Followers of the hashtag would have been treated to discussions of Ai Khanoum, comments on Greek philosophy beyond Athens, our praise of Loeb edition and Scott’s question on the computer-generated image of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Followers can also read eachother’s opinions on matters shown in the programme, such as our opinion on Magna Graecia being a great field of Greek study, feelings about Rosie Wyles‘ demonstration of Greek masks (“those masks are really creepy… #WWTG” reads one tweet) and a general negative feeling when the Romans were mentioned, which is understandable as the programme is on the Greeks.

What we particularly commend is the commentary ran by JACT. They were able to offer extra information around each of the subject featured in Who were the Greeks, just as Scott has been doing, but also offer reading around the subject. For me, Who were the Greeks was a solid, able programme that serves well as an introduction and foundation to any budding Greek interest; JACT’s running commentary allows for any budding interest in any of the programme’s theme and subject to be delved into and developed. If we at Classics Collective were able to provide such a commentary, we would, but for lack of bibliography and knowledge. For this we commend JACT, the Twitter account for which has been becoming more and more active over the course of this year.

Scott also provided additional material to the programme in various blogs and website. You can access these articles via our previous blog post here.

The programme itself was well presented, informed and exciting, yet we have to commend Dr. Michael Scott for more than his effort in the box. His effort online is not exclusive to Twitter, but via the blogs too. The effort of passionate Classicists to reach out to viewers and other Classicists enhances the subject to Classicists and non-Classicists alike, and Classics twitterers led by Scott did just that. It also make the field of Classics more tight-knit, at least amongst the Twitter-Classicists. Such a template should be repeated. It will not benefit every Classicist or reach the whole populace, since Twitter is not universal, but it doesn’t matter: we interact on Twitter for our own enjoyment and benefit anyway. Any additional benefit to the subject can, in this way, be seen as a bonus.

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