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Jason Steinhauer on "History, Disrupted" & the Web's reality warp

Public historian Jason Steinhauer is the founder and host of "The History Club" podcast on Clubhouse, and author of "History, Disrupted: How Social Media and the World Wide Web Are Changing Our Past." (courtesy photo)

The images from Ukraine are shocking and horrifying. Civilians bound and murdered, left on the streets of Bucha. A ghostly parade of bombing survivors in Mariupol, ash covered, reminiscent of people fleeing lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. A family gunned down on the street as they fled across a burned-out bridge over the Irpin River. Children, numb with fear after days on end hiding in dank and freezing basements.

A recent headline in the Economist stated, “The Invasion of Ukraine Is Not the First Social Media War, But It Is the Most Viral.” “Ukraine is the most wired country ever to be invaded,” the article observes.

As images and accounts from Ukraine generate millions of views, they comprise an instant e-history of this heart-breaking conflict.

Tom's guest today studies how Internet-based social media have changed our understanding of the distant and recent past, and how technology has upended how we learn and communicate our understanding of history.

Book jacket image courtesy Palgrave Macmillan Publishers

Jason Steinhauer is a public historian, the founder of the History Communication Institute, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He’s also the founder and host of The History Club podcast on Clubhouse, which has more than 100,000 members, and he’s the author of History Disrupted: How Social Media and the World Wide Web Have Changed the Past.

Jason Steinhauer joins us on Zoom from Washington, DC.

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Rob is Midday's senior producer.