Monday, March 12, 2012

Twitter - The Modern Telegram?

When my husband and I were married in the late 1970s, we received at least one if not two telegrams wishing us all the best from his family in England. At the time, I thought it stange, but was sufficiently amazed that individuals still sent them. Seems like it was a tradition, if one could not attend the wedding they would send a telegram which was read during the sit down portion of the reception.

We still have the telegram(s) and now with many years behind me of doing genealogical research I definitely appreciate them even more as the individuals who sent them have now passed on. 

While telegrams themselves are not used very often in 2012, I like to think of Twitter as a modern day version of these 'short, but important, messages'. All Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters which forces one to be precise and to the point. To aid with shortening long URLs, Twitter now provides this service but there are other companies that do this also like bitly and others.

Started in March, 2006 by Jack Dorsey, this social media service has gained popularity throughout the world with about 500 million users as of Feburary, 2012 according to an article by Jessica Roy in 10,000 Words. This company is based in San Francisco but has offices in New York City.

One of the main differences between Twitter and Instant Messaging is that one is "tweeting" to many individuals rather than just one. Users can group posts by a topic and using a hashtag "#" with the subject after it like "#genealogy", etc. An individual can post a message, retweet a message with "RT" and/or reply to other users with "@" followed by the username.

While there are just as many suggested uses as there are users of the product, some of the advantages of Twitter are that one can ask a question of many individuals with one 'tweet' and it is a great forum when attending conferences. Often individuals tweet what is going on at a conference in an effort to provide up-to-date information on a particular class. For those who are attending a different class this is quite helpful, especially if one was torn as to which class to attend in the first place. Additionally, a Twitter news feed is constantly going on for all to keep up with what is happening at the conference. This can be displayed on a large screen set up at the conference as well as in an application set up for the conference on your portable device.

A companion application known as TweetDeck and is great for obtaining information on many different tweets on diffferent subjects as the same time. My TweetDeck is set up to receive tweets from:
  • All Friends
  • #genealogy
  • #familyhistory
  • #technology
  • #familysearch
  • #socialmedia
I have found many a new link to some great resources by following the awesome shares by individuals from around the world on TweetDeck! I do turn the sound off as it chirps with each post.

As one looks at different ways to stay in touch it can be overwhelming and so I have restricted my TweetDeck to once or twice a week, otherwise I would get to distracted and not get much else done except to watch tweets all day!

Twitter and TweetDeck are great social media resources in a long list of applications available today to stay in touch with the world. Take some time to check them out if you are not already using it.

Comments and Suggestions are always welcomed!

Building Bridges for All Generations!

Claire (*)
Timeless Genealogies
We're Your Family is "No. 1"



Twitter @TimelessGen

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