Facebook Teaches U.S. History

Who would have thought the most popular social media platform could be teaching U.S. history. On top of that, the facts are legitimate, for those wondering how accurate the information can be from a social networking site. But just as others have embraced social media as a learning tool, the White House is too, making Facebook a learning tool of the future.

The information provided is focused on the basics that basically everyone was taught in high school and perhaps forgotten. It is still notable that for the first time a government institution is using social media to educate the public on important items. Over the course of a year, federal agencies and government entities have carefully filled in the history of our country on Facebook. The dates go back all the way to our founding fathers and when the U.S. was first established with impressive accuracy.

The White House initiated the first updates on Facebook in spring of 2012. With its first update came incredibly accurate information about U.S. history dating back to George Washington and his federal inauguration. Since the first movement into social media, several other government agencies have joined in on the conversation.

The U.S. State Department has taken the task quite seriously, incorporating links to articles that substantiate the historical information and further elaborate on that particular event or occurrence. And the related articles come straight from the Office of the Historian and give additional credence on diplomatic accomplishments, initiatives and milestones.

Posts and updates from the U.S. State Department vary in importance and relevance to our society today. Posts can range from the Berlin Crisis to the reconstruction of Japan following World War II to less circulated events like the Clandestine 1919 visit to soviet Russia by William Charles Bullitt and even the peace conference held in Paris following World War I. The best perk in using social media to communicate this information is users can enter and engage at their own level. Some users are intrigued with the wealth of information provided on the White House sponsored social media page, others want to see the timeline the agencies have put together and do a simple run through of monumental occurrences in U.S. history. No matter how deep you wish to immerse yourself in the information is up to you, and at least the information is being made available through possibly the most interactive medium used by the White House and corresponding agencies.

The Defense Department’s page is less ambitious but still impressive and filled with notable milestones in the Pentagon’s history as well as the establishment of the National Security Agency. There are documents from President Truman’s establishment of the National Security Agency in 1952 as well as President Eisenhower’s founding of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1958.

The Agriculture Department’s page is focused more on images from the department’s history as opposed to detailed pieces of U.S. history, but nonetheless still engaging and educational, something rarely featured on popular social media sites. There is much speculation about how much the information will be used and what will the runoff be for other social media sites. Is Pinterest next or perhaps Instagram? Most notable though is that the information is there in the first place. Government entities are finding ways to reach younger demographics and there isn’t a better way than using social media. Overall, this regime has seen the most integrated campaigns that incorporate social media and are using that technology for important communications.

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