By MEGAN SPILKER
For the past four years, the centenary of the Great War, I have been managing social media content for the National World War I Museum of the United States in Kansas City, Missouri. The challenge of the job is holding the attention of more than 150,000 followers. The 24/7 business of reaching new audiences with bite-sized history stories works best when we combine pithy quotes with striking images in a steady flow of articles that keep our younger demographic engaged and interested in learning about an often forgotten war and people like Churchill, who survived the experience and learned from it.
The complex legacy of soldier-statesman Winston Churchill during the First World War is not easy to share in 280 characters or less, but our collection shows snippets of his experience through objects and documents from the Royal Navy (which he oversaw in 1914–15) and photographs from the Royal Scots Fusiliers (with which he served on the Western Front in 1916).
A clipping from The Sydney Mail in 1916, for instance, declares: “Mr. Lloyd George stated last week that the credit for the introduction of the new British armoured cars [tanks] was due to Mr. Churchill, who enthusiastically took up the idea of making them and long ago converted him.” The museum also has a glowing review by Andrew Dewar Gibb of the Royal Scots Fusiliers who wrote of Churchill: “No more popular officer ever commanded…he left behind men who will always be his loyal partisans and admirers.”
These cameo portraits of Churchill in the Great War successfully engage our younger audience and encourage them to learn more.
As we mark the centenary of the Armistice, you can check in with #Armistice100 hashtag to stay on top of events and content from my desk that will commemorate the fallen and celebrate peace. It is a day that I hope will inspire many new followers to set aside time for remembering and exploring the past.
Megan Spilker is Social Media Manager at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.