I use Twitter. I tweet. Maybe I’m a twit.
I don’t use Twitter as it was designed to be used. Twitter started as a microblogging service (a web based personal journal in the form of a 140-character posting). The intent was to communicate – “What are you doing right now?” The last thing I want to know is the mundane activity anyone is doing right now.
The best (or worst) thing about new technology is that folks will figure new and innovative ways to use it that its creators never imagined.
I’m not going to take credit for being innovative. I learned how to use Twitter from some folks that have been tweeting for a long time. Rather than talking about what I’m eating or the first fluff that enters my brain, I use Twitter to publicize and promote my genealogy.
Like Facebook, it is about making connections. In Facebook, once you have friended someone it becomes a two-way street of information sharing. Twitter is a little different with its followers and following. Connecting with someone in Twitter (following) is a one-way street. I have now ‘subscribed’ to see whatever they have to say. In turn those same people or others will ‘subscribe’ (follower) to what I have to say. It creates a very different kind of network.
What I post in Twitter becomes public. The tweet is seen by my followers and by anyone following the hashtags that I use to categorize my post. It is the hashtag that really makes Twitter powerful. Hopefully, you have seen hashtags, they look like - #topic. I use #genealogy, #familyhistory and #ancestry to categorize my posts. Depending on what I’m promoting, I may try to find a very specific tag like - #oldphotos or #DNA. Anyone can then search all of Twitter based on a topic. This is perfect if you want to know what folks are saying about the #CivilWar or #Lincoln.
One of my specialties is genetic genealogy. When I post on this topic, I include both #genealogy and #DNA. Unless someone searches on both hashtags they won’t find my post easily.
I propose the use of the following hashtags to help categorize genetic genealogy tweets.
- #gDNA – genealogical DNA topics (I know that gDNA also stands for genomic DNA, but those folks don’t appear to be tweeting.)
- #yDNA – Y-DNA topics
- #mtDNA – Mitochondrial DNA topics
- #atDNA – Autosomal DNA topics
If you tweet and you are not using hashtags, start. If you tweet about genetic genealogy, start using these tags (pretty-please).
You can find me @OriginHunters.