The Romanovs were pioneers of photography — in the early 20th century they owned the world's first portable Kodak cameras and captured almost every meaningful event in their lives.
On July 17, 1918, the last Tsar of the Russian Empire, Nicholas Romanov, was executed with his wife and five children by the Bolsheviks. To pay tribute to the family, we merged a large set of visual data with transmedia storytelling to piece out the big picture of a "lost Russia". This is the story of the Empire's last royal family through thousands of their own photographs.
#Romanovs100 is a comprehensive cross-platform social media project unveiling photographs from a unique collection preserved by the Russian State Archive. This vast family chronicle is a detailed first-hand witness account of the early 20th century - for decades this part of Russian history was eradicated from school-books and kept in the dark during the Soviet rule. Today, we bring it back to the spotlight.
#Romanovs100 is an educational narrative which aims to show that learning history can be compelling and interactive. With #Romanovs100 we continue to experiment with innovative formats and digital approaches in educational storytelling. Our creative strategy can be summarized in three key objectives: "Engage. Inspire. Educate." #Romanovs100 is a research into history through the visual language of photography combined with the digital reality of social media.
The Romanov archive is perhaps the first private photo chronicle in history to boast such detail and scope. With our project we wanted to pay a "live" tribute to the last ruling family, giving these photographs - once kept in family albums - a second, digital life in social networks. Several thousand photos added up to create a dynamic narrative, which was then shared on social media accounts image-by-image.
Our accounts on four social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter) review the last decades of the Empire as seen through the lenses of the Romanov family's cameras, each account showcasing its own narrative, format and content.
Each published photograph was thoroughly researched to create linear and non-linear storytelling depending on the platform. To create each post, the team turned to dozens of different sources ranging from personal diaries and letters by Nicholas II himself, to memoirs written by his contemporaries and extensive works by Russian and foreign historians.
(Go to https://Romanovs100.com for a detailed web case study)
The team used a special digital asset management tool to gather thousands of photos and tagged every image: "who, what, where, when". The cloud of tags involved up to 200 markers and provided us with early clues on possible stories and craft.
Media planning was among the biggest challenges during data curation process - the task was to keep the narrative unique and original for every social media account. Guided by the specifics of every particular network and their audiences, the team was thoroughly selecting and splitting the content between YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This laid ground for creating comprehensive multimedia cross-platform content: more text-sophisticated posts for the Facebook community, snappy visuals for Instagram, real-time first-person storytelling on Twitter, short documentary-style videos on YouTube.
(Go to https://data.romanovs100.com/ for data gathering & curation case study)
Among the key elements featured in the #Romanovs100 storytelling:
#Romanovs100 is widely acclaimed by educators, historians and researchers in higher-education. Our team already made several presentations at 2nd and 3rd level institutions. The project was selected to be part of the official educational program of America's biggest creative festival - SXSW 2019 in Austin, Texas. #Romanovs100 is also showcasing at ASU GSV X forum in San Diego, focusing on innovations in education, and PromaxBDA Europe, gathering the best-inclass creative case studies in TV industry.
#Romanovs100 had an impressive impact across social media. The project generated over 25 million impressions & gathered around 55,000 fans & followers combined. Social media posts generated over 1 million engagements (likes, shares, comments, retweets). Our short documentary videos on Facebook and YouTube gained 1+ million video views with over half-a-million minutes of watchtime.
#Romanovs100 became the key hashtag during the centenary of the Romanovs' death on Twitter worldwide. During 16-17th July #Romanovs100 hashtag usage grew more than 2,000% with the project's unique tag featured in tweets by museums, history magazines, publishers, historians, students and educators. The project received wide global media coverage, featuring in The History Extra magazine, BBC News Hour, Tatler, Sky News, Daily Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, Quartz, Culture Trip and more.
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