The Finnish Twitter war: the Winter War experienced through the #sota39 project and its implications for historiography

This essay explores the #sota39 project by the Finnish National Broadcasting Company YLE. The project is a chronological representation of the Finnish Winter War produced for the social media platform Twitter. The project remixes authored material with content produced by the project’s consumers to provide a multivocal representation of a seminal historical era which seems to excel in invoking experience to its readers. How can historical characters be transfigured to relive 105 days of national crisis, after 70 years of its passing, through a strict chronology and on a social media platform, in a manner that connects with contemporary media consumers and still maintains its relevance as a historical project? The social media form is radical for historians, yet well suited for presenting chronologically proceeding events. The authors consider #sota39 to be an example of a well-made and successful experimental history project. In this essay our attention is not in the content of #sota39 but in its experimental format, use of historical sources and the historiographical consequences. This paper analyzes the complexities of the #sota39 project to fully appreciate its nature as a historical endeavour and to understand the possibilities and support it offers traditional history in the digital era.