Progress Report: Historical Twitter Account of Francesco Foscari

The goal of our project is to produce a twitter feed for Francesco Foscari, the Doge of Venice from 1423 until 1457. The project is divided into four consecutive phases: researching Francesco Foscari and Venetian life during his time as Doge; studying historical twitter accounts for lessons learned, as well as twitter culture (hashtags, retweets, etc.), in order to incorporate these aspects into our twitter feed; constructing a story, told through tweets, that will be disseminated over the period of a month; and finally the dissemination of the tweets through the twitter account @F_Foscari over the final four weeks of the project.

Update on Progress

Gantt Chart Historical Tweets

As can be seen from the Gantt Chart above, we are currently in the third week of the project, coming to the end of the first phase of the project. As previously described, the focus of the first phase of the project is to research Francesco Foscari, as well as Venice at that time. We have read they play “The Two Foscaris” by Lord Byron, which although is not entirely accurate from a historical perspective, provides insight into how Foscari has previously been represented. This may help us to develop a personality for our twitter account. We have also read about the electoral system in place at the time: “Electing the Doge of Venice: Analysis of a 13th Century Protocol”.

Our main challenge in this phase has been access to reliable historical references. The book that is considered the best reference on Foscari, “The Likeness of Venice: A Life of Doge Francesco Foscari”, by Dennis Romano, has unfortunately been reserved at the library for the past few weeks which has delayed our research somewhat. We will be able to get this book at the end of this week.  This book will be our main source of biographic details for Foscari and will be essential in building a story for our twitter feed.

Because we have been delayed in our research phase, we have decided to start on Phase II. We have been researching other historical twitter accounts. An interesting reference we did find was a blog post by an author, Sean Munger, titled “How To Be a Historical Figure On Twitter: A Few Tips.” Munger tweets @CryforByzantium as Alexis I Comnenus. His blog post gives interesting insights into how to most effectively engage with your audience through historical tweets. Some of his advice may not be entirely relevant to our situation (such as securing a twitter handle); however he does provide some advice on how to take advantage of some of the artefacts of twitter, such as the conversation features, and on how to gain followers.

 Next Steps

There is just over one week remaining in the first phase of the project. As we have been delayed slightly in getting access to some material, it is likely that we will slightly extend the research phase and simultaneously conduct phase II. Some of the key questions we will need to address in the coming weeks include determining the story we will be portraying through our account, and setting the rules for our account: will we respond to our followers, how will respond, what will our persona be?.