Well, readers, I wasn’t sure I’d be using the blogging feature of this site all that much, but two recent events have energized me to spend a few minutes putting together a blog post here. First, historians at the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians launched a new media and curriculum tool to promote the work of women historians. Follow them on social media here and here, and read their rationale for the movement on this thread. Second, and relatedly, my request to have my Twitter account verified was recently approved. I’m writing today to explain why I think more women historians should try to get verified.
Here’s the thing: I don’t have that much of a public presence. I write for The Chronicle of Higher Education, and I blog over at The Junto, but I got the first gig because I sent off a piece to them while still a graduate student, and then kept sending stuff, and I ended up at The Junto in part because that public writing for The Chronicle made my work visible to other historians. I do not have a huge number of Twitter followers. I wasn’t sure whether those credentials would be enough to get my Twitter account verified, but they were.
As someone who supports this initiative to have women historians’ work recognized and valued by the media, I don’t think we should understate the importance of that blue check mark next to someone’s Twitter handle. I haven’t tweeted any more than I usually do, and have gained additional followers–I assume because of that check mark. I’ve also noticed that my verified account has more options for filtering notifications. I now have the option, for example. to mute users whose accounts have been recently created, or who do not have profile pictures; this option would have been extremely welcome during the few instances in the past when my writing or media appearances have provoked unwelcome attacks from nameless Twitter eggs.
It was very easy to apply for Twitter verification. You can read about it here. Long story short: you write a 500-*character* justification, and can then provide several links as evidence that your writing and work is of public interest. I linked to my Chronicle pieces, The Junto‘s Twitter account, this website, and my university staff profile page. So, if you have a popular blog, a book, several media pieces, or other appearances that might constitute “public interest,” it’s worth a shot at applying, and will take maybe ten minutes of your time. If you get rejected, you can apply again. It’s usually so hard to make a case that women’s work is legitimate. This step is an easy one, so why not take it?