Sunday, August 22, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #33 - Twitter

This series of challenges was developed by Amy Coffin at The We Tree Genealogy Blog. I do these challenges almost every week but somehow I never seem to get around to writing about them. It's a great series and you can find the previous weeks here at GeneaBloggers. This particular challenge was for last week so I'm a little late.

Here's the challenge:
Monitor genealogy on Twitter at least twice a day for seven days. To do this, go to and type #genealogy in the search box. Examine the information being shared and exchanged. Twitter is a web site for sharing information in a format that allows only 140 typewritten characters. Much of the information on Twitter is useless (kind of like television). The trick is to control the information coming to you and ignore the rest. By indicating that you are interested in genealogy, you’ll get only information that contains the word genealogy. Check this #genealogy Twitter feed (not the regular Twitter feed) for a week. Notice the genealogy “tweets” that are posted. What type of information is being shared? Authors of genealogy blogs can write about their impressions of using Twitter for genealogy. Active Twitter-using bloggers can describe the benefits/drawbacks of the micro-blogging service to their readers.

I've had a Twitter account for a while but used it only as a news source. I followed my favorites for University of Kentucky football and basketball news and also followed a few genealogy news types. I had a couple of them routed to my phone (which is just a basic cell phone) and checked the others on the computer a few times a day using Tweetdeck to organize things. Beyond that, I didn't see much use for Twitter. 

Then I went to FGS in Knoxville last week and saw the light.

Before I left home, I'd seen the #fgs10 hashtag and started following it (on the computer). Wednesday evening I saw tweets from @ACoffin and @geneabloggers saying where they were, who was with them and inviting others to join them. Several bloggers (@genwishlist, @toniasroots, @baysideresearch and @jtrahan2003 to name 4)  made full use of Twitter during FGS, tweeting out sessions they were attending, who else was there, making lunch plans, etc. 

About a year ago, I couldn't see any use in text messaging but I gradually came around to seeing the benefits of that. Now Twitter is growing on me but I've seriously got to get a better phone. 

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?


  1. I'm so glad that you saw the light! I don't know how we would have found everyone at FGS without Twitter.

  2. Yay! This makes me really happy. Twitter is perfect for conferences, but you have to see it in action to understand why. Glad it worked for you.