Do you recognize the image above? If the answer is yes, then you know I’m going to talk about Twitter. If you don’t know what the bird represents, what a “tweet” is, or shudder when you hear people talk about “Twitter,” “Facebook,” or Social Media, then please stick around and keep reading. Perhaps I can alleviate your concerns!
The first thing everyone should know is that no matter how strict you set your privacy settings, you should act as if the whole world is reading. If you don’t want your parents, children, co-workers, spouse, boss, friends, or the world knowing your deepest, darkest secret (that you would otherwise post for “strangers” to read) – then just don’t post it. Things have a way of getting back to the people you are trying to hide something from (and yes, I just realized I ended a sentence with a preposition!) Second, if you don’t want someone judging you due to your political, religious, ethical, or moral opinions – then what are you doing posting them? I guarantee that not everyone on your friends list has the same opinion/belief that you do – even if you think they do – they just hide it better! Third, due to all the changes that social media makes day in and day out, you will at one time encounter urban legends (ten gazillion likes will NOT help that poor child get a new heart/liver/kidney and unfortunately the child has probably died in the few years since the posting has been making the rounds); your closest friend may have clicked “like” on something (Facebook) and it has shown up on your newsfeed – unfortunately whatever they “liked” has offended you in some way – do not, I repeat Do Not believe that your closest friend has done this intentionally. Sure, they could have remembered rule #1 (see above) but things happen. Just either click the little x so you don’t see similar things in your newsfeed, or just keep scrolling, or even contact your friend in person and explain that you were offended before you jump down their throat and decide that there is no way in the world they can ever be your friend again (what are you – 8 years old in elementary school?)
Now that we got that out of the way – there are those who post on Facebook all of the time but Twitter freaks them out. I guess it’s the 140 or less thing – whatever you “tweet” on Twitter, it must be 140 characters or less. Trust me – it can be done! You may have to learn some “texting” or “tweeting” language, but it will become comfortable after awhile. I’ve been on twitter for awhile, tweeted sporadically up until about a month ago, and now I have made 180 tweets and have 33 followers – some are my friends/family and most are via geneablogging. Why, yes, I will probably tweet about this post when I’m done!
So how exactly does social media further genealogy research? Besides the networking angle, it can provide tips and tricks on better research strategies or even connecting distant cousins. Recently, the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held in Burbank. The fact that I am not a member nor do I live anywhere in the vicinity of Burbank did not deter me from eavesdropping on the event. Unfortunately I didn’t participate in any webinars, but I did keep up via Twitter. Below I’ve listed my favorite tweets (mainly because, these are hints that will help me!)
Tweets (or retweets) from Missy Corley:
- Schedule time every 6 mos or so to organize your bookmarks.
- When you’re stuck, re-examine the records you already have.
- Unsubscribe from the email lists and newsletters you don’t read.
- The CountyCheck feature in RMS is great!
Tweets (or retweets) from Amy Coffin:
- Some free map sites: NYPL, David Rumsey, LOC, Perry Castaneda at UTexas
- Don’t forget Cyndi’s List map page.
- Arons is now playing with HistoryPin.com, and so should you.
- Hovorka: new genealogists need seasoned genealogists too, for guidance, where to find info.
- Hovorka is saying the same thing Witcher did at RootsTech 11 about getting them in the door, not cramming citations down them.
- Hovorka: we need tools that foster mentoring and collaboration.
- Hovorka: scholarizing is a brick wall to reaching new genealogists. #scgs12 Yes, it is. Preach on, sister.
- Hmmm…mugshots.com, not your typical genealogy records set.
- If you’re into frugal curating, @familycurator has a book coming out about it in a few months.
Tweets from Randy Seaver:
- Thomas talked quite a bit about affiliate programs on geneablogs Made up to $200 in one month
- Ancestry Insider says to write geneablogs for yourself. Ought to use images in every blog post.
- Thomas says Wikimedia Commons has copyright free images available for use on blogs.
Tweets (or retweets) from Elyse Doerflinger:
- Bubble.us is like a giant whiteboard and you can type anything down – get ideas out of your heard @drewsmithpa
- (Original tweet by Amy Crow) That’s the key: “If I look at your citation, can I get back to the original?” – C Witcher (The comma doesn’t matter!)
- (Original tweet by Tonia Kendrick) Be committed to ANAYLYZING your data. #Witcher
All of the tweets about Steve Luxenberg’s presentation on “Secrets” by Susan A. Kitchens!
Tweets from Tonia Kendrick:
- NewsLibrary.com can be used a la carte – no subscription necessary. Contemporary content, not historical. @megansmolenyak
- Create timelines whenever you can. #Witcher
I kept all spelling/hashtags/capitalization the same however, most of these tweets included the hashtag for the conference which I did not include above.
Social media allows distant cousins – who would never be able to meet any other way – to get to know each other better and share valuable genealogical data and information. It also gives family historians the ability to learn from each other. So use it – but use it with care!
If you would like to read more about the folks above:
- Missy Corley is the author of Bayside Research Services and her blog is located at Bayside Blog. She has several posts about the Jamboree.
- Amy Coffin is the author of The We Tree Genealogy Blog.
- Randy Seaver writes Genea-Musings.
- Elyse Doerflinger’s blog is Elyse’s Genealogy Blog.
- Susan Kitchens writes about several things on Family Oral History.
- Tonia Kendrick is the author of Tonia’s Roots. She has a post about the highlights from the Jamboree.
Personally, I want to thank all those who tweeted from the Jamboree as well as the presenters and the sponsor!