- Realize that using Twitter can be done through Twitter.com [which is how most people start using it], but it can be accessed and used through other 3rd party platforms [which is just a fancy word that means software]. Many people who use Twitter eventually use these other 3rd party platforms because the actual Twitter site does not have a lot of functionality. But I highly suggest a beginner to use the Twitter site until they are comfortable and ready for more functionality.
- While on Facebook, privacy is a big matter. On Twitter, we're not so private. Yes, the Twitter.com site allows you to have an account where you approve who follows you, but that's not really how we rock-n-roll over here on twitter. The whole point of twitter is to be social. So be social. [If you have someone who is following who turns out to be inappropriate, you can block them.]
- Know that the world you are tweeting to is only as big as who is following you. If you have 4 followers, then they are the only ones to whom you are tweeting.
- Realize that if you tweet something to your followers that is funny, newsworthy, etc. and they want to share it with their followers, they will do something that's called a 'Retweet' and as the name suggests, your tweet is then shared with that follower's followers. So say for example, you shared a link from the internet to this great online database with your 4 followers, and 1 of your followers decides to retweet it to or share it with their 550 followers, then your tweet will be seen by those 550 followers. Now, any those 550 followers can decide to retweet it as well, and so on and so forth. So if you say something clever, interesting, informational, etc., more than just your followers may read your tweet. And in the Twitter world we consider this a good thing. It's called 'going viral'. [Some of us actually pray for this. Okay. I'm kidding. Maybe.]
- By the same token, you may retweet something someone you follow tweets to all of your followers. In fact, this is highly encouraged on Twitter. We're very social and supportive here and we like to retweet and we like to be retweeted. So, yes, by all means, RETWEET tweets. Don't worry or think about if someone else has already tweeted it. Just do it anyway. [There are specific reasons why you should not worry about redundancy in tweeting, but that's too much for right now. Just feel free to retweet. Please.]
- As evidenced above, success on Twitter is tied to your followers. You may have come to Twitter to only network with other genealogists, but many more tweeters will start following you. This tends to alarm newbies. However, don't be alarmed. We tend to be very social here, and there are many reasons why you should not be alarmed and welcome your new followers, whether their marked for genealogy or not. But I'm not going to go over all these reasons now. [That's a post in and of itself.] Just roll with the flow. Trust me on this. [Please.]
- Realize that Twitter and tweeting is like a conversation. It's not a billboard or message board where people blast whatever message they want to blast and then never interact with any of their followers. Even though you'll see this, it's just not the way we roll here on Twitter. We like to interact. We want to get to know you. And we want you to get to know us. And with the relationships that are developed through this networking comes success with Twitter and ultimately your goals.
- Many people like to categorize their tweets with a common keyword. For example, on the [what I like to call] 'Genealogy World' on Twitter, most genealogy-related tweeters use what is called a hashtag, #, then the word genealogy. Like this: #genealogy [Here's an example of a tweet with the hashtag genealogy: Hey everybody! Come look at my new blog at mynewblog.com #genealogy ]. Why do they do this? Please read on.
- Speaking of goals and hashtags, you probably came to Twitter because someone said it's a great way to look for those related to you, or it's a great way for you to connect with other genealogists, or if you're a professional genealogist with a business someone told you Twitter is a great place to connect with possible clients, or something like that. Well, yes, this is true, but how do you find these other genealogists, and, more importantly, how do you find what they're saying about genealogy? Here's a tip to help you find the 'Genealogy World' on Twitter using the Twitter.com site to access Twitter.
- From your HOME screen at Twitter.com, click the search box that is located on the top right-hand side & the search box will expand.
- Type the following hashtag into the search box: #genealogy
- A list of tweets that contain the hashtag #genealogy will appear.
- This is what I like to call the Genealogy World on Twitter.
- Now, since you'd like to visit this new found Genealogy World on Twitter as much as possible, you'll want to SAVE this search so you don't have to re-search. [Just nod your head.]
- So, from the screen that has your Genealogy World on Twitter list, click the icon in the top right hand corner of this list that looks like a gear.
- A drop down menu appears with 2 things you can click: SAVE SEARCH and ADVANCED SEARCH.
- Click on SAVE SEARCH.
- Then next time you want to access your saved search to the Genealogy World on Twitter, from the HOME screen, click on the search box and a drop down menu will appear with #genealogy as a selection.
- Click #genealogy & voila! The Genealogy World on Twitter.
While I could go on and on about different aspects of Twitter, I'm not going to. This is enough for you to start chirping, to test your wings, and to see if you you'd like to learn to soar.
If you have any questions, please let me know in comments. Please remember that the only stupid question is the one you DON'T ask, but really want to ask. So ask. Please.
Oh, and please follow me on twitter: @FamilyStories
And if you liked this article, feel free to let your followers know by clicking the tweet icon below this article and tweeting it to them. Don't forget to add the hashtag: #genealogy