What could Twitter possibly have to do with a 10-year-old boy who lived on Mackinac Island in the late 1800s? Plenty, if you check out web address www.twitter.com/@boyatftmackinac, the Boy at Fort Mackinac.
The Twitter account chronicles several seasons in the life of Harold Corbusier, who was the son of an American commandant at Fort Mackinac. Harold and his family lived in quarters on the west end of the fort, and he began writing his diary on his 10th birthday:
I am 10 yrs old today. We had turkey and other good things for dinner. The ground has been covered with snow all winter.
Harolds father served as an American Commandant while the Americans were at Fort Mackinac in the late 1800s, towards the end of the time that the fort was still operated by the Army, explains Diane Dombroski, the membership and grants coordinator of Mackinac State Historic Parks.
By 1875, the fort had become the countrys second national park after Yellowstone, she continues, but the federal government couldnt maintain it so they turned it over to the state of Michigan in 1895. By that time, the soldiers were leaving the fort, as there was no longer a strategic reason to have a fort there.
So why Twitter young Harolds diary? Because Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon. The online mini-diary messaging forum - via which people type messages in a mere 140 characters or less - has exploded in its membership and followers, providing a new venue via which past can meet present.