SHA 2013: Social Media at the SHA Conference

Over the past few years, SHA has built an online presence through the use of social media, and it began within the conference committee. This year, with the addition of the blog, and the society’s developing use of Twitter and Facebook, we want to encourage you all to incorporate social media into your conference experience in Leicester. You can find further information about the use of social media at conferences in general here and here.

Before the Conference

Using social media before the conference provides a number of opportunities to make your experience in Leicester more enjoyable. Here’s some suggestions:

  1. Catch Up with What’s Happening: We have a Facebook Page, Conference Event Page, a Twitter Account, and official Twitter Hashtag. We’ve also been posting blogs about Leicester and the conference since January. Follow and Like Us, and read up on what to expect at the conference!
  2. Start Communicating: Twitter is a great way to meet other archaeologists. See who is tweeting with the #SHA2013 tag, and start conversations with them!
  3. Advertise your session by blogging and posting: Do you have a blog? Use it to share your session, the reasons why it is important, where and what time it’s being held. Post it on our Facebook wall and send a tweet with #SHA2013 and @SHA_org mentioned, and we’ll share it with our members!
  4. Share Your Trip: Let us know what’s happening on your trip to Leicester. Did you find a good travel deal? Need someone to share a ride with from the airport? Delayed? Lost? Send a tweet with the #SHA2013 tag and see if someone can lend a hand.

At the Conference

Once you arrive in Leicester, use @SHA_org and our Facebook page to communicate with the conference committee; we’ll be using it to communicate with you. Here are some things we’ll be using social media for:

What we’ll be doing

  1. Announcing special events: We’ll send out reminders about events including the awards banquet, student reception and so on, so you don’t miss anything! We’ll also live-tweet and post from the Business Meeting, so those of you leaving early on Saturday can follow along from the train.
  2. Special Announcements: If something is relocated, delayed, or cancelled, we will announce this via social media.
  3. Answering Questions: Send your questions to @SHA_org or the Facebook page
  4. RTing and RePosting: We’ll repost on Facebook and ReTweet on Twitter the things you share on the #SHA2013 hashtag. If you’ve taken a great picture, made an interesting comment in a session, or provided some good information, we want to make sure our followers see it!

What you can do

  1. Wear a Twitter Sticker: When you collect your conference bag, ask a volunteer for a Twitter Sticker. Then write your Twitter name on it, and stick it to your name badge or wear it separately. This way, other Twitter users will know you Tweet.
  2. Post YOUR Special Announcements: Has something happened in your session that is delaying things? Have you found a great restaurant or coffee shop you want to share? Spotted your book in the book room? Post these items and we’ll repost them so others can see them.
  3. Ask Questions: Use Twitter and Facebook to ask questions about the conference. Can’t find a room? Can’t remember what time the Awards Banquet is? Send a tweet to @SHA_org or post on the Facebook wall and we’ll get back to you.
  4. Take Pictures: we’d love to see and share your pictures from the conference, particularly from the special events.
  5. Come to our TweetUp! There will be a special gathering at a local watering hole that is open to all, but particularly for those who use social media! This is a great chance to meet those you’ve come to know on Twitter or Facebook, but never met face-to-face. Stay tuned for more details! UPDATE: The TweetUp will be Thursday at 9 pm, after the Pub Quiz at the Marquis. See the Facebook Event here for more info.

In a Session

Twitter can be particularly useful when you’re in a session. It provides a backchannel of commentary and discussion, so people who couldn’t attend the session or conference can still follow along. It also gives presenters and chairs a chance to get some feedback on their presentation, and to communicate with the audience – leading to interactions and relationships that might not have occurred otherwise. Here are some tips to maximize the effectiveness, and civility, of Twitter. You can find more hints and tips here.

For Session organizers

  1. Use a Hashtag: It’s OK with us if you give your session its own hashtag; this way, it is clear what tweets belong to what section. We STRONGLY advise that you also use the #SHA2013 hashtag, so that people following it will see your session as well. Otherwise, it may not be noticed. So, pick something short to save characters!
  2. Make it Known: Make sure all your presenters know about the hashtag, and that you’d like to use social media during the session. Make sure that the audience knows as well; tell them as you introduce the session. Also, encourage your presenters to include their own Twitter name and the session hashtag on their introduction slide, so that people can use it during their presentation.

For Presenters

  1. Be Loud: include your Twitter name on your presentation slides, and say something in your introduction about how you’d like to hear feedback on Twitter. If you DON’T want anyone to broadcast your session, make the request at the beginning of your presentation.
  2. Respond: Be sure to respond to the comments that you get, and build relationships!
  3. Pay it Forward: Be an active tweeter during the session for your fellow presenters.

For the audience

  1. Be Respectful: Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t say to a presenter’s face; Twitter is, in general, a friendly place. Constructive criticism is certainly welcome, but remember you only have 140 characters. It’s probably best to send the presenter a private message saying you’d love to chat about their presentation rather than publicly dig into them. If a presenter requests silence on social media for their presentation, respect it and give your thumbs a rest.
  2. Introduce your Speaker: It’s courteous to send a tweet out introducing the presenter and their paper topic before starting to tweet their presentation: this gives those following some context.
  3. Cite: Use the presenter’s Twitter name, surname, or initials in all the following tweets so that their ideas are connected to them. Use quotes if you’re directly quoting someone from their presentation, and be sure to include their name. Remember: these presentations are still the presenter’s intellectual property, so treat it respectfully!

After the Conference

Just because a conference is over, it doesn’t mean the work is done! The same goes for social media; here’s how you can round out your conference experience:

  1. Write a Summary: Use a blog or Storify to give other archaeologists a glimpse into your experience, session or paper, and see what they missed. This also allows us to gather feedback about the conference so we can make it better next year! Be sure to post it on Twitter, use the #SHA2013 tag, and post on our Facebook page so others can see it!
  2. Post your Paper: Using a blog or to post your paper is a great way to make it available to everyone. Or you could make a video; simply record yourself talking over your slides and upload it to YouTube or Vimeo (read more about this here). Then, share it with us!
  3. Build your Networks: Build longer lasting relationships by looking up the people you’ve met at the conference on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (oh, we have a LinkedIn Group, too, just for SHA members). If you find them, send them a message saying how nice it was to see them!

The Day of Archaeology 2012

On the 29th June, archaeologists from around the world will contribute to an innovative mass-blogging project online called the ‘Day of Archaeology‘ . This digital celebration of archaeology is now in its second year following on from a very successful launch in July 2011 and has attracted over 400 archaeologists from all walks of life to share a day in their working lives with the rest of the world by blogging, tweeting, photographing or videoing their working day.

Based on the ‘Day of Digital Humanities‘, this project was the brainchild of PhD students, Matthew Law and Lorna Richardson, who created the idea during a short discussion on Twitter.  It quickly attracted support from a like-minded team of ‘digital’ archaeologists (note, these digital archaeologists work with the digital medium, they aren’t excavating old backup tapes from the archives!). Support for the original project came from the British Museum’s Department of Portable Antiquities and Treasure (Daniel Pett), UCL’s Centre for Digital Humanities (Lorna Richardson), L-P Archaeology (Stuart Eve, Andrew Dufton, Jessica Ogden), Wessex Archaeology (Tom Goskar) and this year they have been joined by the Archaeological Data Service at the University of York, and also by Patrick Hadley, Karen Hart and Jaime Almansa Sánchez.

How Does the Project Work?

The ‘Day of Archaeology’ would be nothing without the help of the many participants, all contributing their stories for free. The foundations of the project have been built through a social media campaign on various platforms – Twitter, Flickr and Facebook.  For example, since April 2011, over 3300 tweets have been sent using the hashtag ‘#dayofarch’, and the information shared has been recycled many thousands of times via retweets, blogs and Facebook shares.

Within several weeks of the team announcing the project would be happening, enough people had signed up to make it viable and the Day of Archaeology looked like it would be a successful social media experiment (incidentally, social media use in archaeology is part of Lorna’s PhD research at UCL). The project is managed behind the scenes using Basecamp, and the various members of the team contributing their skills to the different aspects of organisation involved (for example publicity, web design, server management etc). Everyone involved is a volunteer, and all the work is done for free.  Content was created under a liberal licence (Creative Commons share-alike) and this year, we aim to deposit an archive with the ADS for posterity in case our server space disappears!

What Sort of Things Did People Contribute in 2011?

Last year contributions for the project were incredibly wide ranging, displaying the panoply of archaeological disciplines, and included professional archaeologists and volunteers.  There are some wonderful posts made via prose, imagery and video. Some notable examples of historical archaeology posts from last year that the team has been flagging up on Facebook and Twitter in the run up to this year’s event include:

The excavation of two households owned by freed African Americans in the nineteenth century in Annapolis, Maryland

An archaeological exploration of 16th and 17th century warfare in Ireland

Historical archaeology research at the Santo Tomé de Guayana site in Venezuela

Excavations by Binghampton University on an urban site dating from the late-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries at the Binghamton Intermodal Transportation Terminal

Retrieving post-medieval artefacts from the River Wear, Durhamin the North East of England ‪

A report from a community-based historic graveyard survey on an island off the west coast of Ireland

The above posts are just a snapshot of the Day’s content, if you visit the project website (, you can see over 435 posts from 2011 that give the casual reader a snapshot of the rich variety of archaeologists at work. The Day of Archaeology provides a unique behind-the-scenes insight into archaeologists’ daily lives; it is a multi-vocal, unscripted, unedited approach that offers open information about the field, both as a practise and as a discourse, but also delivers the discovery, the excitement and the mystery that is now the bread and butter of popular archaeological media. It also provides an insight into the many mundane office and field based tasks – the paper work, the research in dusty archives, the pencil sharpening – all the things you don’t see on the TV programmes…

Take Part in 2012!

You could be involved too. The event is running again on the 29th June (next Friday), and there is still time for you to sign up!  Just email us at and we’ll send you details of how to take part. The Day of Archaeology awaits your input!

A New LinkedIn Group for SHA Members

For some time, the SHA has been working to develop a LinkedIn resource that can be used by members as both a forum for discussion of research and a place to post job announcements and other Society-oriented content. To achieve that, we have developed a new group for SHA members only that will be focused on providing a forum for membership to post jobs, contact potential employers, and establish professional connections. Additionally, the original group, which was started years ago independent of the Society, will remain open and available for members and non-members to discuss historical archaeology and other archaeologically related content. Special thanks to Tim Scarlett building and maintaining this page over the past few years.

The new group will be open to members only, and will therefore be yet another benefit of joining the SHA. We encourage you to visit and request access to the page. Please visit the group by clicking here.