How history buffs found home on Twitter


By Adam Earnheardt

acearnheardt@ysu.edu

I have a group of friends who meet every Tuesday night. We huddle around our TVs and watch our favorite show, “The Curse of Oak Island,” on The History Channel.

It’s hard to give an accurate count on how many friends are in our group. Most of us have never actually met face-to-face. Yet, we chat and joke like lifelong friends, like buddies who meet up to unwind after a long day.

Our group assembles on Twitter using the hashtag #OakIslandCursers as our rallying cry.

Twitter is our meeting place for sharing this common interest, for sharing a passion for history and the hunt for buried treasure.

In truth, we’re not all that different from other groups who use Twitter to celebrate their love for favorite TV shows.

By comparison, the Oak Island Cursers aren’t even a big group. While there may be other shows with bigger followings using unique hashtags such as #GameOfThrones or #Greys- Anatomy, the passion for Oak Island is just as strong, even if our tweets aren’t trending across the nation.

Chris Freeman of Brunswick, Ohio, is a fellow Curser who shares that Oak Island passion.

“I’m a big history fan, but not a big reality-show guy,” Freeman said. “A friend of mine watched the first episodes and encouraged me to check it out. The combination of history and treasure hunt really attracted me.”

For many Cursers, it’s the Twitter group that keeps them coming back.

“There’s a healthy amount of skepticism anyone has when you’re parsing theories of the Templars and the Holy Grail and Shakespeare letters,” Freeman added. “The way I was able to find a group who wanted them to find something, but also could point out the ridiculousness of the show at times, was the perfect match.”

For other Cursers, following Oak Island on Twitter is more about trying to piece together important historical timelines, like putting together a giant puzzle one tweet at a time.

“Twitter makes it fun to watch because I find others who, like me, have different theories about what and who were on Oak Island,” said Christie Brooks of Tyler, Texas. “I’ve read several books on the Templar Knights, and I’m a little obsessed with them.”

Cursers are keen to share theories about what happened over the centuries on Oak Island and about what treasurer hunters will ultimately unearth. Theories range from the Ark of the Covenant to the Holy Grail to Templar gold.

“Even if they never find a lump of treasure, it’s still intriguing to wonder how human bones from European and Middle Eastern origins were found around the island, buried so far beneath the ground,” Brooks added.

Whatever they find next, you can bet the Cursers will be there to tweet about it, offering endless theories, and connecting with like-minded friends to explore the mysteries of Oak Island.

Dr. Adam Earnheardt is chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University. Follow him on Twitter at @adamearn and on his blog at www.adamearn.com.

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