A Word on Bull Runnings Tours and Live Social Media

9 09 2018

I’ve been getting some inquiries on whether we’ll be providing online video coverage of the upcoming Bull Runnings Artillery Tour. The short answer is no, we will not. Let me explain.

s-l300First, but not foremost, I personally find the use of things like Facebook Live for battlefield programs disorienting and, frankly, physically uncomfortable. With Facebook Live, the floating hearts and smiley faces and comments overflowing the video, combined with shaky camerawork, are borderline seizure inducing. I don’t want to be anyone’s Mary Hart.

The main reason has developed in my noggin in the wake of a recent conversation with a friend and public historian, concerning why I don’t charge a fee for these tours. One of my big motivations in building this site, and in organizing these tours, is to raise the profile of the First Battle of Bull Run. In conjunction with that, I hope these tours raise awareness of the critical role that visiting the field plays in understanding the events that occurred there. You can gain an understanding of these events by reading about them, and looking at maps, but to really get a feel for what happened there, you have to walk the ground. Frankly, even among Civil War enthusiasts, the typical visit to Manassas National Battlefield Park consists of a brief jaunt around Henry Hill and taking a picture with Stonewall. (Maybe they head to Brawner Farm or the Railroad Cut, but those are the second battle.) It’s simple – I want more people to visit this battlefield. I don’t see how providing video coverage of these tours will help bring that about, even if viewership of that coverage might be ego boosting (or deflating, as the case might be).

So, for the foreseeable future, if you want to experience a Bull Runnings Battlefield Tour, you’re going to have to get up and go. Some of you can’t due to other commitments. There will be more tours, the Good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise.

While we’re at it, I’d like any of you who intend to attend the upcoming tour on October 20 to please clearly indicate that intention either on the Facebook Event Page by clicking the Going button, or by letting me know via email if you “don’t do The Facebook.” Or leave a comment here. It helps us to plan things better and, well, it’s the decent thing to do.