Genealogy & Social Networking Technologies #2- Twitter

Surprisingly, Twitter has become an essential communication vehicle for me. And, no one is more surprised than I am. I never thought that I would become a Twitter user, much less become one of those people who rely on Twitter.

Initially,I thought that Twitter was both frivolous and oriented towards the younger folks. I guess that probably says something more about me becoming stodgy and old then it says anything useful about Twitter; but nonetheless one fine day, I gave it a whirl.  The rest is history.  Now, I use Twitter everyday I use the computer, which is to say almost everyday.

With Twitter’s 140 measly ‘allowable’ characters, I am able to announce what I am doing and discovering to the world, or at least to that little part of the world interested in #genealogy, #ahnenforschung, #history etc. And amazingly enough, you the ManyRoads reader who also uses Twitter comes by for a look-see.  People I never knew, or knew might be interested in mywork, stop by, share information or simply become stealth readers; by the way, that is approximately 99.98% of you (Yes, I am one of those guys who tracks statistics…).

Additionally, Twitter has provided me with avenues for sharing what I find, or more precisely what other ‘Twitterers’ find,  as you can see on our News! page. I am able to filter the news streams, build lists of people (other Twitterers) with whom I share common interests (see My ManyRoads List). I use (meaning read) their/your feeds then either for myself alone or for further sharing and aggregation.

I am able find new information from people and places around the globe covering topics such as:

  • #genealogy
  • #genealogists
  • #famhist
  • #ancestry
  • #familysearch
  • #familytree
  • #surnames
  • #historic
  • #antique
  • #ancient
  • #brickwall
  • #archives

In Twitter speak, words prefaced with # are called hash-tags (hastags). Truly they are nothing more than keywords, if you will, for sorting through the piles of streaming Tweets/ information, in order to see those topics in which I, and you if you use them, are interested.  I personally find the above hash-tags to be very good for finding meaningful genealogy information and articles. Additionally, I am able to use those very same hash-tags for generating information feeds to various software systems like paper.li and Gwibber, the social feed reader I use.

As you well know, both genealogy and genealogical research are reliant on finding hidden, not easy to locate, information. A communication tool like Twitter has become, in this arena, a real asset in finding information… previouly hidden and obscure, to me.  It is also a useful communication vehicle which facilitates meeting, talking, and connecting with like minded individuals- those people searching for information similar to that which I seek.

More to come…

Further Readings