Cannes Lions

#1917LIVE: What if Twitter existed 100 years ago?

RT, Moscow / RT / 2018

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The central narrative pillar was created by team of journalists and researchers. All tweets are accurately sourced from memoirs, diaries, letters.

Work on the project began in July 2016. The toughest challenge was to go through an enormous amount of historical data, and then organise it into a day-by-day Twitter timeline. Through 2017 our editorial and creative team hand-crafted all content. Every tweet was factual, traced and verified through multiple sources. Among other resources, the team referred to a giant archive of old daily newspapers scanned and stored in Russian libraries.

The project has a key community element - the #1917CROWD hashtag allowed anyone to create their own historically authentic “avatar” and engage with the events of 100 years ago. The project was endorsed by renowned writers such as British historian Dr Helen Rappaport and best-selling author Paulo Coelho, who contributed to live-tweeting 1917 events.


Key features:

- historically authentic online teasers filmed on-location

- use of rare archive footage as just-in Breaking News video

- unique 360 VR-series bringing viewers back in time to experience 1917 Russia almost as it was: you can witness WW1 battles, visit a revolutionary printing house, or sneak into Lenin’s hideout apartment

- LIVE Q&A sessions with characters like Lenin, Kerensky, Tsar Nicholas II during which anyone could ask a historic figure a question AND be answered

- collaboration with Paulo Coelho on first-person tweets by Mata Hari, adapting his book “The Spy” to #1917LIVE storytelling

- mock-up CCTV footage from 100 years ago

- #LeninTracker online map which followed Lenin’s 7-day-trip from Switzerland to Russia in real time

- POV LIVE Periscope stream from Lenin’s secret hideout

- collaboration with digital colourist Marina Amaral

- creative incorporation of trending hashtags, polls, Moments, other interactive tools


After one year, #1917LIVE accounts gained over 250,000 followers combined. More than 275,000 tweets used the hashtag #1917LIVE generating over 75 million impressions. Project-related videos generated 1,500,000+ views across social media platforms.

#1917LIVE was followed by media influencers, reporters, politicians, researchers and history enthusiasts. Journalists from The Guardian, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, France 24 ‘retweeted the revolution’. The project received media coverage in 10+ languages (Huffington Post, El Pais, La Stampa, GQ, Telesur and others).

The project generated scientific interest among scholars and educators globally: some have requested a full data-set to enable their research. Others are using the data to teach Russian history.

Innovation in #1917LIVE was praised by many influencers on Twitter and has already been recognised at numerous prestigious international awards, generating powerful PR flow.

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