Roaming Historian came out of me being a professor, it came out of wanting to bridge the fact that a lot of people will never enter into a history classroom with my skills as a college professor. The fact is that it's not a general education requirement at most universities and colleges, and even today we’re finding that more and more we're seeing that history is being kind of erased from the curriculum at the k12 level. I was in a meeting, in a leadership role as the President of the American Association of University Professors at Delta College, and the board was talking about marketability, and the different roles, more along the lines of administrators and things like that– and how marketable people are, and I thought “I wonder how marketable historians are”, you know? “What does a PhD in history really have as far as marketability goes?” and do people want to follow a history professor around? So that night, I went home and I launched a Twitter account. It went through some different names, and I won’t go through them all, but Roaming Historian was the one that stuck. 15,000 followers later, it turns out people do want to follow a history professor around. I tweet every day of my life and it's the primary channel where I connect with my followers. I also have a Facebook page that I post to almost daily, as well as a YouTube channel and Instagram account that I’m hoping to grow in the future.
Roaming Historian isn’t the academic Amy. Roaming Historian is funny Amy. Roaming Historian Amy doesn't fact check everything, she makes mistakes, and she admits that she makes mistakes. I use this in my classrooms as an example on how to do good research. I say going and using Roaming Historian is bad research - yes, this is written by Amy French who has a PhD but this is not academic and this is not peer-reviewed. Using a peer-reviewed article is real research. When I teach, most of the time I am teaching online, so I put most of my lectures on YouTube because it’s an easy-to-access, accessible format– but I stress the importance that not everything posted to YouTube is something that should be believed because not all things are created equal, and it’s a big lesson for my students. My students have fun with Roaming Historian but they understand it’s a just-for-fun thing.