Using Social Networking as a Genealogy Tool: Twitter
This post is the third in a series on using social networking sites as tool for genealogy. Keep an eye out for future posts in the series.
Social networking sites can be a helpful resource to have in your genealogy toolbox. If you haven't already read the first two posts in this series, be sure to go back and read about using Facebook and MySpace for genealogy.
Twitter, the microblogging platform that limits users to 140 characters, is another social networking website that can be helpful in tracing your roots. Getting started is easy. Just register for free and fill out your profile. Follow people who tweet about the things that interest you. For instance, you can follow Free Genealogy Resources to stay up to date on recent posts and other genealogy information of interest.
If you blog about your research into your family tree, you can leverage Twitter to get more people to your blog. This increases the odds that a visitor may visit and hold the key to your genealogy mystery.
If you've been on Twitter, chances are you have saw hashtags, even if you weren't aware that they were called that. Hashtags consist of a pound sign (#) followed by a word or phrase (without spaces). They are a way of grouping tweets into categories. Clicking on the hashtag will return a list of all tweets with that specific hashtag.
#genealogy is the most frequently used hashtag for genealogists on Twitter. It can be used for all genealogy-related tweets. Use it on your tweets and take the time to occasionally scroll through other tweets using this hashtag.
Other hashtags you can use include #brickwall and #famhist. The brickwall hashtag is self-explanatory. Use it when you are tweeting about your brick wall ancestors. The famhist hashtag can be used interchangeably with the genealogy hashtag. However, since more people use the genealogy hashtag, you're better off using genealogy. The famhist hashtag can be added to make sure you're covered completely.
Participate in genealogy-related Twitter memes. Surname Saturday is the main one you want to participate in. Simply tweet about one or two surnames in your tree and add the hashtag #surnames. Some users also include the #genealogy hastag as well. Several Twitter users have connected with family members via this meme.