I’m taking the plunge.  I’ve resisted using Twitter, because I really didn’t feel like I needed one more thing to keep up with, but I’ve relented because I finally see a really good use for it.  Twitter is a “tiny messaging” service. It’s very basic, allowing only up to 140 characters.  That’s about as much as the first two sentences of this post.  So for those who want to post something very basic and short, and for others to be able to see it immediately, Twitter is the answer.  It’s also often used on phones and other devices that don’t display complex screens with lots of options well, like Facebook, e-mail or other social media sites.

My Twitter user name is robertajestes – and capitals don’t count.  So to refer to me or follow me on twitter, you’d say @robertajestes.  You can also find people by searching for e-mail addresses if you don’t know their Twitter ID.

To follow people, which means you can see their postings, you have to sign up and create an account.  Fortunately, it’s easy and intuitive.  Go to and follow instructions.

If you want to sign up for Twitter, here’s a basic and easy primer for how to do it at the link below.  It’s actually very simple.  One word of caution, when they are assigning your user name, be sure to take the time to enter the one you really want.  They will assign one to you but it may not make you happy.  If you change it later, anyone following you will “lose” you.

Here’s a video about how to tweet.

Just remember, click on the feather to write something.

Go ahead and set up your Twitter account if you’re feeling adventurous.

The next thing you need to know if you want to track those of us who will be Tweeting at the conference is about hashtags.  You can recognize a hashtag because it has a # preceeding it.  The hashtag for the conference is #ftdna2012.  Last year’s was #ftdna2011.  Anyone tweeting about the conference will include this hashtag which makes it findable using Twitter’s search.

Here’s a link about hashtags.

To show you how this works, I signed into Twitter at and entered the hashtag #ftdna2012 in the search box in the black band a the top of the page shown below.  Here is what was returned.  After the conference starts you’ll be able to see what anyone who is tweeting and using that hashtag has to say.

It just so happens that I’m following Richard and Debbie, and Richard is following me, so he saw my question about the hashtag and answered it.

The great thing is that now that I see this message, all I need to do to follow those other people who Richard mentions is to click on their user ID or handle and then it gives me the opportunity to follow them.  In the above list of messages, I clicked on @Genealem, which I know is Emily Aulicino.  You can see the screen displayed below.  All I had to do was to click on “follow” by the little blue bird  See how easy this is!

So that’s it…all you need to know to sign up, follow people and use hash tags.  But wait, there’s one more thing.  You might want to send a tweet yourself.  Just sign on to, after you’ve set up your account of course, and you can tweet from the main page or you can click the feather in the upper right hand corner any time.  You can see the Tweet I’m composing in the upper left hand quadrant of the screen shot below.  If you click on the feather, it opens a larger box in the middle of the screen.

So dive right in.  The water’s fine and I’ll see you on Twitter from the Family Tree DNA conference beginning on Friday.  Hashtag #ftdna2012.  Follow me @robertajestes and the other folks shown in the messages above.  If anyone else is going to be tweeting, please post comments to this blog with your Twitter ID so we can all follow each other.  Sounds like a flock of birds doesn’t it!  Happy Tweeting!

5 thoughts on “Twitter

  1. Hey, Roberta, thanks for featuring my post about Twitter on Gnoted.

    I really like how you explained Twitter even in more depth here. I bet it’s easier writing a beginners tutorial about something, when you yourself were just starting at it recently.

    Twitter is fun and can sometimes even become addictive, as I’m sure you’ll notice while using it.

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