Definition of the Project
We would like to portray a few months in the life of Francesco Foscari, Doge of Venice from 1423 until his death in 1457. This twitter account (@F_Foscari) will be historically accurate but also incorporate Twitter culture and language in the tweets in order to engage the audience and to portray history in a relatable manner. The tweets will convey what life was like in Venice at the height of its expanse and power. We will also cover some important events going on in the life of Francesco Foscari during this period including the wars with Milan, the death of his son Jacopo, his marriages to Maria Priuli and Marina Nani, among other events.
One of the most important aspects of this project is researching both Francesco Foscari and life in Venice during the 15th century. The first portion of the project will be dedicating to reading and researching on both of these aspects. Two sources that we have already identified as being important include “The Likeness of Venice: A Life of Doge Francesco Foscari”, by Dennis Romano, and “Venice and Thessalonica, 1423-1430: the Venetian Documents” by John R. Melville-Jones. Historical accounts such as these will allow us to understand important events during his life. We will also consider other fictional representations as these artefacts may give a different insight into Foscari’s life. This first phase of the project will set the foundation for the rest of the project. Therefore it is important that we conduct a thorough and complete research of Foscari and Venice.
While it is critical to ensure the historical accuracy of the information that will be disseminated through the twitter account, it is equally important to make the information interesting and formulate the information in order to conform with twitter culture. The second portion of the project will be dedicated to identifying significant historical twitter accounts and analysing the methods these accounts used to relay information. Some twitter accounts that will be considered include @dday7, a twitter account operated by the British Channel 4, which recounted in real-time the events of D-Day, 69 years later, and @RealTimeWWII, which has been tweeting the events of World War II, in real-time, over the past 2.5 years. Additionally, other twitter accounts will also be identified and analyzed.
In a third step, we will convert the acquired knowledge into a bank of tweets that tell the story of Francesco Foscari and the daily live in Venice in the 15th century incorporating twitter culture and language. As only the most significant events in Foscari’s life are reported in literature, we will have to fill in the blanks. Furthermore, Foscari did not leave behind any records that might give insight into what he was thinking during specific events, therefore we will have develop a persona for Foscari. We will have to decide how much creative license we will take when creating the tweets. There is also the issue of indicating which tweets are historically accurate and which tweets are an interpretation of history used for filling in the blanks. The purpose of this exercise is to convey a historically accurate portrayal of Foscari and it will be important to convey to the followers that the information is reliable.
Another issue that has to be defined in further detail next semester is how we will respond to tweets from followers. Twitter is an interactive medium and it is possible that followers of the Foscari account may wish to engage with Foscari. There are a few options as to how we can address these tweets: we can ignore the tweets, we can respond as Foscari, or we could respond as ourselves. The analysis of similar twitter accounts and how they handle tweets from followers will provide some guidance in this matter.
The final step is the daily dissemination of our bank of tweets. The dissemination of the tweets will be done manually or by using a bot — this will be determined next semester. We hope that through our twitter account we will be able to both educate and entertain our followers with the life of Francesco Foscari.
Project Plan with Milestones
Phase I: Research (Weeks: 1 – 4)
Gather historical information on the life of Francesco Foscari as well as what life was like in Venice at the height of his political power.
Phase II: Study Similar Twitter Accounts (Weeks: 5 – 6)
Look for trends in successful historical twitter accounts (for example @dday7) and try to learn lessons to implement in our own twitter account.
Phase III: Create the tweets (Weeks: 7 – 10)
Build a bank of tweets that tell the story of Francesco Foscari. The aim would be to tweet at a frequency of at least once a day (or more during for important events).
Phase IV: Disseminate the Tweets (Weeks: 11 – 14)
The tweets would tell the story of Francesco Foscari over time. Disperse the tweets from the bank, either by a bot or manually.