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Great Moments in History on Social Media

by on November 20, 2014 6:00 AM

In a world where it seems every major event goes viral, it is hard to believe that society survived for several millennia before the dawn of social media.

But hold on to your hat (or smartphone) — there are shocking new developments. Recent discoveries have shed new light on social media's role in history. (In this world we sadly need a disclaimer that the following "news" is in fact not true).

This week archeologists found old scrolls revealing the existence of Twitter centuries ago, even as far back as the first man and woman. They have released some of the excerpts already translated by ancient language scholars.

Adam and Eve:

@Adam This Garden is Eden-like and lovely but I sure am lonely

@Adam I have Zero -- ZERO -- followers on Twitter -- maybe God should make some more people

@Adam slept like a baby -- whatever that is -- woke up and feel like I'm missing a rib

@Adam Whoa! There is another human -- I'll call her #Woman. Maybe I should friend her on Facebook.

@Adam Eve gave me an apple -- it sure was good ... wait a minute I just realized I am Naked

@Adam Got my first twitter follower!

David Slays Goliath:

@Goliath They sent some scrawny kid with a slingshot to fight me -- this one will be over before it starts

@David If I beat this giant I will be a sports cliché for centuries #DavidVersusGoliath

@David #DavidVersusGoliath is trending worldwide -- this could be big

The Birth of Christ:

@TheLittleDrummerBoy I have no gift to bring #PaRupPaPaPum

@Joseph Wife had to give birth in a stable -- I'm never gonna hear the end of this -- I tried booking online #NoRoomAtTheInn

Jesus walks on water:

@PetertheApostle—My man walked on Water #OMG

@Lucifer Jesus Can't Swim #SoLame

@ThomasTheApostle Jesus is walking on water. Who'd ever doubt this guy?

Also this month stone tablets were found throughout Europe shedding new light on the use of social media in Ancient Rome and Greece. The tablets covered a range of historical events revealing the real-time thoughts of the people during events that remain familiar to us even now.

Julius Caesar Assassinated:

@JuliusCaeser Et Tu Brute?

@Brutus Yeah Me Tu ... Get it? Me Too. #DeathToCaesar

@CaesarsWife I told him to #BewareTheIdesOfMarch He never listens

The Roman Empire Falls:

@FoxNews Slashing of Defense Budgets Lead to Rome's Downfall

@CNN Elephants Cross the Alps; @DrSanjayGupta Shares Hannibal's High Altitude Diet

@RomanLegion1 How the hell did they get Elephants Across the Alps?

Trojan Horse/The Fall of Troy:

@HelenOfTroy My mother told me I had a face that could launch 1,000 ships

@MayorOfTroy Greeks seem to be building some type of giant horse -- looks cool

@MayorOfTroy Greeks have retreated. Left a nice gift horse though

@TrojanGeneral Hey @MayorOfTroy Don't they say beware of Greeks bearing gifts?

@MayorOfTroy Why question it @TrojanGeneral never look a gift horse in the mouth

@GreekArmy They freaking fell for it. I can't believe they fell for it #FallofTroy

Closer to home, the Library of Congress, after a request under the Freedom of Information Act released a trove of documents containing parchments of printed social media tweets from American History.

The Declaration of Independence:

@ThomasJefferson Congress accepted my 18th re-write-All men are created equal? Not so sure about some of these guys

@KingGeorgeIII Declaration of Independence? My Redcoats will have something to say about that

Lincoln Issues The Emancipation Proclamation:

@FrederickDouglass Emancipation Proclamation from Lincoln #AboutTime

@JeffersonDavis Maybe this war really is about slavery after all #StatesRights #WarofNorthernAggression

The Battle of Gettysburg:

@RobertELee Sending Pickett on a Charge. What could go wrong?

@RobertELee Last time I ever cross the Potomac -- now 0 for 2 #Antietam #Gettysburg1863

V-E Day in World War II:

@WinstonChurchill Allies win -- but gotta say Stalin looks like the kind of guy who'd hang up Iron Curtains

@HarrySTruman Next Stop V-J Day -- Hope that whole #ManhattanProject thing is on schedule whoops #SaidTooMuch

Kennedy Berlin Speech:

@TheRealJFK Still can't believe someone got @JFK twitter tag first

@The RealJFK #IchBinEinBerliner is trending worldwide -- Gotta admit I give great speeches

@NikitaKruschev Ich Bin #NotImpressed

@NikitaKruschev As for Jackie Kennedy Ich Bin #VeryImpressed

@MSNBC Kennedy Speech in Berlin; Inspiring, Unifying and Brilliant

@FoxNews Kennedy; Ich Bin Ein Berliner, JFK Renounces US Citizenship

Man Lands on The Moon July 20, 1969:

@CNN Man Lands on Moon; Anderson Cooper Will Report Live From Moon Tonight

@NeilArmstrong I drew the high card -- I go out first #OneSmallStep

@NeilArmstrong #OneSmallStep is trending worldwide -- Take that @KimKardashian


@JoanBaez The answer my friend is blowing in the wind ... so is 2nd hand smoke #GotTheMunchies

And finally evidence that athletes and coaches have been tweeting for a lot longer than we thought. Here are tweets uncovered in the vaults of ABC Sports.

Super Bowl I:

@VinceLombardi Winning isn't everything -- Actually, yes it is! #WorldChamps

@PeteRozelle We should name this trophy after someone ... #VinceLombardi

Wilt Chamberlain Scores 100 Points in an NBA Game in Hershey, PA:

@WiltChamberlain 100 points? Seriously who was guarding me? #NoOne

@GuySupposedtoGuardWilt I held Wilt without an assist #Defense

@OneofWiltsTeammates I was open All night #PassTheBallWilt

Okay so maybe I am a bit too cynical about social media, but it does highlight a world where the news cycle is never-ending and increasingly allows newsmakers to give their own insights (in 140 characters or less) into current events.

It does make one wonder how archeologists will view and interpret the tweets of our times.

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State College native and Penn State graduate Jay Paterno is a father, husband and political volunteer. He’s a frequent guest lecturer on campus and at Penn State events and was the longtime quarterbacks coach for the Nittany Lions. His column appears every other Thursday. Follow him on Twitter at
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