I have been thinking lately, especially with having a presence on the web and Facebook, about Civil War Round Tables. These groups consist of members, who get together on a regular basis and discuss topics relating to the war. They often include a speaker, with question and answer sessions following, as well as dinner. There are several located around the country, but what about those of us (myself included) who do not live near an established round table group? What about creating a virtual Civil War Round Table?
With the ever increasing use of the internet, especially the blogosphere, by historians, I think the time has come to create a virtual Civil War Round Table, where interested parties could come together and discuss the war and present their knowledge at a pre-determined time. Here is what I envision for a virtual round table:
Having found a way to create a way for several people, perhaps dozens or more, to link up on the web via an instant messaging or Twitter type setup, we would allow the keynote “speaker” to post their remarks (either a paper or other prepared text) in the form of a document or podcast. We would read the text, or listen to the podcast, and then post our comments and questions to the “speaker” via the instant messaging format and basically engage in an online discussion on the topic and other items.
There are several benefits to this format. First, this round table would be a mobile entity that would only be limited by a person’s ability to access a computer with the necessary components to link to the round table. Second, its mobility would allow the round table to have members from a wide range of places around the nation and world. Third, it would be relatively cheap, if not free, as the only costs incurred would be those possibly needed to create the setup for the round table. Finally, it would hopefully bring about the increased use of the web for discussing and promoting the study of the war.
I would like to gauge the feelings on this idea, so I have added a poll to allow you to vote on the idea. I also welcome your comments and feedback, especially if you would like to help with this project.