The polls are open – Tweet, re-Tweet and Tweet again…

We have all witnessed the power of a 144-character Tweet to change the course of vote graphichistory in recent events in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. Now a Tweet has the power, not to change, but, to preserve history. Your Tweets, using the hashtag #DigMilford, can help the Huron Valley History Initiative win a grant from the Clarke History Library at Central Michigan University. That grant will allow the groups that have united behind this project to begin a project to digitize the back issue of The Milford Times that currently exist only on microfilm.

The Milford Times is a local, weekly newspaper that began publishing in 1871. The Milford Times has chronicled important events ever since in the Huron Valley area, which is made up of the Townships of Milford, Highland, Commerce and White Lake and the Village of Milford. Every issue that has been published since the beginning in 1871 is available on microfilm and the Milford Historical Museum and the Milford Library. That’s great, but the microfilm technology is very long in the tooth and does not allow sharing of the information, unless one is sitting in front of the microfilm reader. microfilm readerThe proposed project will digitize the entire microfilm library, index it and make it available on-line at all of the participating libraries and historical societies of the four Townships. Eventually it will be widely available on-line, along with other materials houses in each of the museums runs by the four Township historical societies.

A key to making this happen is a grant from the Clarke History Library, which is associated with Central Michigan University. Each year Clarke solicits grant applications for worthy projects concerning history. The Clarke staff narrows things down to five finalists and those five projects compete for the grant by proving that they support for their project from the local communities and elsewhere. That proof comes on the form of post cards and Tweets. I want to focus upon the Tweets here, because I believe that there is great power in the Tweet, once unleashed.

The voting will take place from Jan 19 until Jan 25. Clarke Library has established a site where people can go to vote – Clarke Library Voting Site. The site has all five grant finalist shown, so remember to vote for the Milford project – hashtag #DigMilford. You can also just Tweet using that hashtag (#DigMilford) within your Tweet or re-Tweet a Tweet that contains the hashtag #DigMilford. Did I mention that our hashtag is #DigMilford? I’ll be sending out a Tweet on Monday, Jan 19 with that hashtag in it, so that you can re-Tweet it, if you’d like.

Is this as important as a revolution playing out in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring or the loyalist forces who are using Tweets to communicate about Russian troop movements in the Ukraine? Of course not; but it can demonstrate again the power of the Internet and of Twitter to influence history. We will be able to track the number of Tweet votes that come in for each of the finalists. Using the simple power of my Twitter followers list and then asking them to pass this on to their followers’ lists, I believe that we can get 10,000 or more Tweets during that week for our project. Together, let’s demonstrate the power of the Tweet. You can Tweet as many times as you wish during the voting period, just remember to use the hashtag #DigMilford. Let’s rock the world this week! I Dig Milford, do you?

postcardAnd if you can’t or just don’t Tweet or want to go to the Clarke Library web site to vote, remember that you can send a Michigan-themed postcard (a postcard with a picture of something or someplace  in Michigan or a map of Michigan on it)  to Clark Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI  48859 and those postcards will each count as 100 votes.  The post card should have the hashtag #DigMilford written on it somewhere to be counted.

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