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Using Social Media To Preserve History 13 April 2010

Posted by nsiegel922 in Tools & Tech.
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April 11-18th is Holocaust Remembrance Week, a time where I find myself reflecting, thinking about the loss of so many innocent lives and feeling proud of my own Grandparents whose strength and courage helped them to survive, providing me with the opportunities I have today.   One of my Grandma’s greatest fears is that as her generation passes on, stories of the Holocaust will fade and soon, there will be no one left to maintain the legacy of its victims and survivors.  Survivors are the only first-hand witnesses we have, and without them, recounting a historical even becomes more difficult.  However, my Grandma and other survivors should feel a little more at ease knowing that efforts are being made to preserve historical events with younger generations, even traumatic ones like the Holocaust, using social media.

I actually stumbled upon the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website through a tweet.  The USHMM is a “living memorial—it recalls the past for the sake of the future.  It is a far-reaching institution where Holocaust remembrance and education have an impact on American society, where the lessons of history aim to influence the conscience of humanity.  It is a memorial and a museum, an education center and a cause, but it is fundamentally about a powerful conviction—that the legacy of the Holocaust has the potential to transform the present and the future” (ushmm.org).

On its site, in light of Remembrance Week, there is a section where site visitors can view the profile of a Holocaust victim, and share his/her story through social media outlets.

REMEMBER THE VICTIMS: SHARE THEIR STORIES

While sites like Facebook and Twitter don’t exactly cater to the “survivor” aged audience, they do reach a generation who knows and understands the power of social media.  To ensure that the legacy of the Holocaust and other historical events lives on it, it is important to spread messages, communicate and teach utilizing mediums that are current and relevant.  Social media has proved to be an efficient method of awareness, and therefore, organizations such as the USHMM are smart to communicate via these outlets.  Even though people like my Grandma don’t necessarily understand social media, they can certainly appreciate the efforts that these organizations are making to reach a younger audience and keep their stories alive.

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