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.