Many resources useful to genealogists and other family history enthusiasts are becoming more readily available online as researchers network through social media such as Twitter. On Twitter, users mostly follow the people or organizations who share common interests, and they have the opportunity to follow each other as they collaborate together.
Those who follow @OurGeorgiaRoots celebrated FreedomTweet with her on the Juneteenth Holiday, and they also rejoiced as she shared the news about an important connection she made in her research after many years. She shared her story and the importance of sharing family history research online. Read about her experence: Chasing No More, Connecting with Cody~The Living & Beyond! Twitter is a place for connecting to those who share news about events and resources as well as personal experiences. These experiences provide encouragement and insight for overcoming challenges found in documenting ancestors.
Getting started on Twitter
Register at twitter.com.
Create a profile that reflects genealogical interests. Include surnames and geographical areas. Twitter users choose the people they will follow from viewing profiles and reading what they tweet about. A message on Twitter is called a Tweet.
Search for users to follow at twellow.com
Search for lists of users interested in genealogy on twibes.com
Find users with similar interests located nearby on twellowhood.com
Once users have selected those they desire to follow, they can find others by searching through the followers of those with whom they have chosen to connect.
After selecting followers, users will have tweets to read from their home page in twitter, and they will learn about genealogical conferences, workshops, new software, genealogical resources, and databases. Many users like @OurGeorgiaRoots will tweet about new blog posts where they share their own family history research experiences and resources. Most users are on Twitter at 9 am, 12 pm, and 5 pm.
Twitter courtesy and language
Twitter language may seem a little foreign at first, but it is easy to learn. Because tweets are limited to 140 characters, you will usually see most tweeters use a URL shortener such as Bit.ly. It helps to become familiar with a few symbols used as well:
hashtag: A hashtag is the hash symbol followed by a keyword to describe the subject of the message. For example, #genealogy, would appear at the end of a tweet about genealogy. A tweet can have more than one hashtag as in the case of #genealogy #Canada.
D: Private tweets sent to a specific user are called direct messages. Direct messages should begin with a “D” and can not be seen by other users.
RT: When a user resends a message on Tweeter it is called a retweet. Messages that are retweeted are visible to all of the users followers.
@: The @ symbol should appear before a user's username so they can easily find the tweet later.
Ex: @savingstories Are you going to the conference? #genealogy
As a courtesy to followers, users should not send messages in all caps, because it means they are angry. Users should also avoid spamming their followers. Followers have the option to block or unfollow a user. When you find information about events or resources or if you have you own blog posts that you would like to share, tweet your followers and they will reweet their followers.
If you see a whale while logged onto Twitter, this means Twitter is suffering and outage which happens quite often on Tuesday. For this reason, you may want to set your Twitter account so that you can receive mobile text messages of your favorite people to follow. You can select those from whom you would like to receive text messages so you will not miss an important message during an outage.
People and organizations on Twitter
With the vast number of people and organizations who are great Twitter users to follow, it is impossible to name them all. In order to get some idea of how they share information, a few tweeters and their Twitter usernames are categorized below with a recent tweet:
Archives and libraries
@archivesnews: The National Archives traditional patriotic Fourth of July Celebration starts at 10 am on its Constitution Ave. steps http://tiny.cc/JULY4TH
Genealogists and enthusiasts
@AYWalton: @RootsTelevision Thanks for featuring my cemetery video!
@CemeteryMan01: Texas State Veteran Cemetery http://bit.ly/9jys7Y
@webduck: MacArthur Left But Volckmann Remained http://bte.tc/cnA #OPP
Magazines and web sites
@FamTreeMag: Advice for clicking your way to court, land and vital records on the web: http://bit.ly/922KCs #genealogy
@Footnote: Today and Tomorrow are the last day for Free Access to Civil War Documents on Footnote. http://fnote.it/cw #genealogy #history
@Ancestrydotcom: Family Tree Maker: How Do I Do That? (Part 2: Media) http://bit.ly/d53RSI
Twitter is a place where anyone who loves genealogy can connect with other Twitter users to share experiences or resources. Many tweet their followers from genealogical conferences and other events. Join Twitter and follow hundreds of others who share expertise and the newest resources available.