Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

May 17, 2013

Don't Be an Egg (Twitter Tips)

   Twitter is a really great Social Media Tool. But it can also be an aggravation. There are ways to use Twitter and there are ways to not use Twitter!

So if you are a genealogist and you are on Twitter because you want to follow (and be followed) by others with similar interests, here are some tips to make your Twitter experience a positive one

Don't Be an Egg (Twitter Tips)
1. Don't be an egg! That is the faceless default profile picture that Twitter assigns every user until they upload their own photo. An egg is anonymous, faceless and doesn't fit with being social. Spammers often have an egg as their profile photo so it's a red flag to many of us. I don't follow eggs and I know many other genealogists pass them by too. My tip is to upload your profile photo before you start following others on Twitter.

2. Don't lock your account  Why make those you have followed jump through hoops to follow you back? To be very honest, I won't wait while you decide if I'm worthy of following you. Because if you followed me, I assume you'd like a follow in return. If I see that lock on your Profile Summary I'm not going to click the follow button .

3. Fill out your Twitter bio before you start following other Twitter users. It's important to let others see what your interests are so they know whether or not to follow you. My Profile Summary (bio) says "Genealogist, author, history buff, Creator of Olive Tree Genealogy website, antique collector" - just enough to let others know if there's something we have in common. When someone follows me I click on their name (which pops up their profile summary) to see what interests they have (i.e., do I want to follow them back) If all I see is "wife and mother" or "lives in xxx" or nothing but their name I don't follow back.

4. Set up your Twitter notifications so that you know whenever someone new follows you. The social convention is to return the follow if you have something in common with that person. But if you aren't getting notified when you get a new follower you won't be able to follow back. I get dozens of new followers daily. So every morning I check my email to go through the names, click on their Profile Summary and make a quick decision about following back. That is why the first 3 tips I've given you are most important for me and for other busy genealogists as well. 

5. Interact with your followers with tweets that are not just auto tweets from your blog. This is common sense advice (remember Twitter is a SOCIAL place!) and I need to do it more myself. I get busy and I neglect this for too long. Say good morning or share a link to a story you read that you found interesting or comment on someone else's tweet. 

If you want to follow me on Twitter you can do so at

If you want more tips on Twitter you might want to read my friend and fellow blogger Caroline Pointer's 4YourFamilyStory blog. I call Caroline the Queen of Social Media and I think you will find her Twitter articles very helpful. Here's one to get you started called New to Twitter?


Judy Webster said...

Thanks for sharing this excellent advice. I am going to put the URL of this post in my handout for a talk in which I suggest using Twitter for family history.

Caroline Pointer said...

Great, great blog post on how to use Twitter!

And thanks for the shout out and kind words, Lorine! I appreciate it!!


Mariann Regan said...

You are so right, that Caroline interacts wonderfully with the other Tweeters! She is always there saying good morning, making witty observations, and asking people how they are. It's hard and takes time to keep your presence on Twitter constant, but it's worth it and also feels good. Thanks for reminding us of this core value -- how to be genuinely friendly on Twitter.