My love affair with Twitter continues as I find even more ways to put this deceptively simple service to use. Today it’s the reading list. The iPad is being tested at work and recently I was tasked with building a news service for our new iPad users. My first thought was to create a Twitter account and use it to find and tweet links to news articles from various sources. They could then follow that account on Flipboard and have the news they need on a beautiful, yet efficient, reading platform. While looking for useful Twitter accounts to follow, I stumbled onto one who had already created the ultimate reading service – using Twitter lists. It was a beautiful thing to see and, unlike the curated account I was planning, much easier to maintain. So, taking what I learned there, I’m building a genealogy reading list using Twitter lists.
Some of you may have noticed a genBUZZ Twitter account recently added as a follower. If you look at the account, you might think it’s a spammer. I created this account some time ago for a project that fizzled. As a result, I forgot I had it. I stumbled on it again and saw it was being abused (Twitter abuse – who knew?) so I quickly changed the password to stop that. At about the same time I had my Twitter reading list epiphany and decided this would be the perfect account for a genealogy reading list. So here we are in the construction phase of The Ultimate Genealogy Reader.
Step number one is complete. I’ve created several Twitter lists. There is the all-encompassing Genealogy list and several niche lists like Cemeteries, Research Techniques, The Archives and, of course, GeneaBloggers. Now I’m in the process of finding and following genealogy tweeple and adding them to the appropriate lists. I’m sure this will be an on-going process (more on that later).
Here is an example of the genBUZZ Genealogy list in its early stages as it appears in the Flipboard reader.
To follow a list, you first need to find them. Use Twitter’s search feature to look for topics that interest you – like “genealogy” – then follow interesting tweets to the submitter’s page on Twitter. The Lists command is visible on their page (even if you aren’t following their account) and when you click on it, a list of their lists is displayed.
Following is a simple process. Select a list to display it and you’ll see a Follow this list button prominently displayed. Once again, you don’t have to be following the account to follow the list.
When you follow a list, you will receive the tweets from every member of that list. If you’re already following someone who’s also a member of a list you are following, you won’t get duplicate tweets from that person. Even if you don’t have access to a reader like Flipboard, using lists in your preferred Twitter client gives you broader access to a growing number genealogy and news resources.
Now that you know what I’m up to, here’s what you can do to help. First – and most important – if you are blogging, make sure you are announcing each post on Twitter. [Find how-to help here.] You can follow @genBUZZ, then direct message me to include you on the list. If you have recommendations for niche categories, I’d like to hear them. Right now it’s all an experiment so things will be arranged and re-arranged until we find a nice comfort point. Even then it will always be changing as sources come and go.
I’m excited about this project. A growing number of developers are putting Twitter to work developing all kinds of interesting apps. I am looking forward to seeing more apps like Flipboard created for all platforms so everyone has access to a pleasant reading experience. As these apps come online, we genea-tweeple will be ready with a comprehensive list of great reading resources.