Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twittering Trees

Within my circle of influence lately, Twitter has risen as a questionable issue. Be it work, other blogs (French Essence) or my own Twitter account, people have been discussing the merits or detriments of this format. I felt it was my turn to give my two cents on the matter - specifically because I think those holding out may be missing quite a genealogical treat - or tweet - whatever.

Ironically, as a 2.0 junkie, my fascination with all things social media, which began two years ago, did NOT include Twitter. Until recently, I was completely fact, when the news mentioned anything about this subject, or God forbid, someone used one of those hash-tags (#) in everyday use, I really wanted to go bird hunting. I viewed it as a colossal waste of time, and an ego-centric outlet for those who just loved to hear themselves talk - ignore the ironic presence of blogs behind that green curtain. In fact, "Twit" was such a great word for them....until....

When my own business was born, it was decided that we would begin a Twitter account, since all major companies had one. Of course, I drew the short straw on that one. So, back in August of this year, our Pastology Twitter account was born. For awhile, I was truly at a loss as to how to make this useful. I tweeted a few random historical thoughts, such as antiquing, or attending the FGS conference in Knoxville, but I knew if I didn't learn more and throw myself into this, I was not going to create anything of use, and I feared it would quickly fade from my daily to-do list. And they say, one of the keys to a successful Twitter account is frequent tweets, at least daily....or you become boring really quickly.

However, for those Twitter virgins out is the amazing lesson I learned:

In the genealogy field, Twitter is the news feed made just for us!

That's right, as I searched for historic and genealogical groups to follow, I was amazed at the wealth of information out there. I was hooked....not for my own tweeting, but for the tweets of others!

Which brings up another lesson for the anti-Twitter people who think they have nothing to tweet about:

You don't have to tweet at all if you don't want to!

To keep your finger on the pulse of genealogical events as they happen, just create an account and follow your favorites. Even local favorites are in there....museums, historical societies, libraries, etc. Trust me, if something happens in the genealogical world, you will hear about it FIRST on Twitter. With the apps on smartphones these days, I read Twitter feeds while out and about, almost as much as I read my RSS feed reader. And who knows, once you get an account and keep up with the other fascinating, genealogical/historical worthy tweets out there, you may begin to see great stories online, and gravitate toward that "Share this" button that allows you to share your link find as a tweet! There's quite the slippery slope!

To get you started, or to learn more:

Twitter: Main site

Twitter cheat sheet created by Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers

Hashtags: Search for #genealogy and quickly see who has tweeted about this subject within the past few minutes.

And I just had to include this adorable desktop background that teaches about Twitter shortcuts, all in a family tree style....too cute!

Happy Tweeting!

CD aka @Pastology (For now, I am Pastology. Perhaps someday, if the company grows larger, I may separate into my own Tweetdom, but for now, I tweet from the home base.....generally historical/genealogical links and comments - you can see my feed on the upper right column of the blog) 11/20/10



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