Danger! The reds take to the streets!

Midnight. The uprising has begun! The signal: a fire in the house of the people. Danger, large mobs of red patrolling the streets.

That was the opening tweet by @hbl1918_realtid on January 27th 1918. Yes, that’s right; 1918! This time travelling reporter, tweets about events that happened in Helsinki during the civil war of 1918. His source: the entire edition of newspapers from that year. It details the uprising of the communist red mobs in real time. With a little imagination, the impression is that this is actually happening today. It makes you want to run to the spot to see it with your own eyes.

Inspired by the ability to speak through images, I created a shadow blog of this great initiative. Using ThingLink, I created the image narrative blog finland1918.tumblr.com to visualize the events. With each image, I include the most recent tweet. Depending on the events described in the tweet, I post a relevant image and tag that specific tweet over the image. Beyond that, I also include other media content that helps to make sense of the image context.

Why am I doing this? Partially because it’s interesting, its educational, and exciting. Its a unique opportunity to follow a historic event in real time. By adding images into the mix, it’s an attempt to make it feel more real. I hope to stimulate followers visually, to help them make sense of the context. By showing tweets, links, information, video, and sound through images in this fashion I hope to illustrate that these events happened right in our back yard, that images truly can speak a thousand words.

If we can learn to assemble rich media inside images, our understanding of images changes completely. We would rely on images to speak volumes about the past and the future because of the contextual dimension that is explicit.

What can we learn from this experiment? Maybe it’s too early to tell, but I would like to think that visual storytelling is an effective way to convey a message, and it’s best when done through interactive images.

Follow the twitter blog at  twitter.com/hbl1918_real and the image blog at finland1918.tumblr.com and compare for yourself if the images have any added value in communicating the events from 1918.