Would it help if genealogists shared stories as short as a tweet?

Most genealogists have experienced the moment when people’s eyes glaze over as we’re telling a story about our genealogy research.

The reason people hesitate asking a genealogist about their research is likely because they’re afraid we’ll tell them. They’re afraid of being trapped, listening to a long, boring story about people they don’t know who died hundreds of years ago.

What if genealogists could tell their story using a limited number of words, such as in a tweet? After all, a tweet can only include a maximum of 280 letters and numbers.

Trending this weekend on Twitter was a series of responses to a question posted by award-winning television and comic book writer Amanda Deibert.

She asked, “What’s a cool bit of family history you know? Can be family of origin of family of choosing.”

As of Sunday night, more than 8,000 people responded.

The responses were short, concise, and intriguing.

The responses made you want to know more about the story. There was only a line or two about a person, and it was interesting.

Perhaps this is where genealogists should stop talking — at the point where the story is still interesting. In other words, limit stories to 280 characters or less — not 280 ancestors.

If we did shorten our stories in conversations, perhaps people would ask more often about our research.

Here’s a small sample of some of the tweets.

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8 Responses to Would it help if genealogists shared stories as short as a tweet?

  1. Elise says:

    Does that mean that most people are unaware that Twitter doubled the maximum number of characters in 2017 to 280?

  2. Teresa says:

    Cool idea – ancestor précis! I like it 🙂

  3. Randy Seaver says:

    Superb idea. I’ll probably use it for the next Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Credit to you Gail.

  4. Celia Lewis says:

    Hmmm… Maybe I could do my “Ancestor Alerts” on Facebook for my adult kids and grandkids as if they’re tweets. I’m getting inspired here!! Great idea.

  5. Alice Childs says:

    I love this idea. I think it’s a great way to pass our family stories down in a way that they will actually be read.

  6. Kenneth R Marks says:

    I love this Gail. Well done. I like out of the box thinking.

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