First a confession – I have been on Twitter since 2009 so yes I am a fan. Why?
There are numerous reasons. By following key genealogists, I can get the latest news on Australian, English, Scottish or Irish research, DNA updates or even what is happening at local record offices and archives. I can chat to geneamates, or find out about upcoming webinars or what books to put on my reading list.
Time spent varies depending on what else is happening in my life. It is also a good place if procrastination has me in its grip or I am not in the mood to do too much.
Since last year, my interest in Twitter as a genealogy resource has grown with the introduction of #ANZAncestryTime on a Tuesday night at 7pm AEST. You can follow them on Twitter @ANZAncestryTime (Ancestry Time Australia New Zealand).
This is managed by Pauleen Cass, Fran Kitto and Sharn White who select the topic and set four questions to be released during the hour. Sue Wyatt then writes up the responses in a blog post so that we can all go back and see the tips, resources, and other useful suggestions from attendees.
I am one of the moderators (there are a small group of us on the roster who assist) and do a 20-minute session every couple of weeks. Although sometimes the action is so fast, moderation is not needed. On those nights I prerecord my answers so that I can just interact with other Tweeters. Everyone uses the hash tag #ANZAncestryTime so that all responses are linked. The hour goes incredibly fast, and I am often left with a to do list for my own research.
Topics covered recently include local history for family history, genealogy software programs, Irish research, English research, social media for genealogy, citing sources, recordkeeping and so on. There are so many suggestions for each topic and people include websites and other links to articles and resources. It is a fun learning experience each week. Plus, you can do it in your pyjamas – no camera needed!
Why not pop on to Twitter after reading this and search for the hash tag #ANZAncestry Time? Have a look at the questions and responses from last week or read the weekly roundup. Was it a topic that was of interest to you? Did you learn anything new?
What I have noticed is that we seem to attract the same people each week, from Australia and New Zealand plus a few from the UK or other overseas places. Or we have other people who are following the tweets but not actively participating. All suggestions and comments are welcome as our research experience may be quite different from others. Is there a particular topic that you would like to see featured?
TweetDeck is my preferred way of viewing #ANZAncestryTime. This program allows me to see my own tweets, and the hash tag tweets at the same time. Plus, any scheduled tweets I have done in advance. It is easier to write responses before the session starts, as my typing and reading skills are challenged at speed.
For example, I always like to have a welcome tweet to let people know I am present, as sometimes there are other things on a Tuesday night. At the end of the hour, I like to do a thankyou tweet to the organisers as it does take time and energy to keep this program going each week.
If you are looking for something to do on a Tuesday night, why not join us for #ANZAncestryTime at 7.00pm? You are guaranteed to have fun as the hour speeds by and learn some new tips at the same time. See you at #ANZAncestryTime.