Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Twitter Adoption and Use by Canadian and US Genealogical Societies

A study of Twitter use by Canadian academic libraries just published found that less than half currently tweet, adoption peaked in 2009, recent adoption has declined, yet tweeting remains consistent and active for those libraries with established Twitter accounts.

How do these results compare with Twitter activity for Canadian and US genealogical and family history societies? Here is a quick study using a methodology similar to that of the academic libraries.


Cyndislist has a section Canada » Societies & Groups with 167 links. Many of the organizations listed are more broadly historical and others are for smaller local genealogical organizations. I selected 13 of the larger genealogical and family history societies, from west to east: Victoria FHS; British Columbia GS; Alberta FHS; Alberta GS; Saskatchewan GS; Manitoba GS; British Isles FHS of Greater Ottawa; Ontario GS; Quebec FHS; New Brunswick GS; Prince Edward Island GS; Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia; FHS of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Six of the 13 have a link to their Twitter presence on their society main webpage. Two others have a Twitter presence found by searching on Google for the society name and twitter. Societies for which I was unable to establish a Twitter presence are: Alberta GS; Saskatchewan GS; Quebec FHS; New Brunswick GS; Prince Edward Island GS.

Twitter first came online in 2006. The first Canadian society to join was the British Columbia GS in 2008. It remains the active leader having produced 1711 tweets, following 1089 other sites, with 586 followers and having made 70 Twitter posts in October.

The next most active is the Ontario GS Library with a total of 936 tweets including 68 in October.

All societies have more than 150 followers meaning they are serving more people via Twitter than would typically attend a monthly meeting. However, two of the societies were inactive in October.

Adoption of Twitter peaked somewhat later for these societies than for the Canadian academic libraries and like them adoption has declined, the last was in 2012.

It would appear the experience for Canadian genealogical and family history societies broadly parallels that for the academic libraries.

Here are the statistics as of the morning on Monday 3 November 2014.

Tweets Following Followers Joined Oct-14
@VicGenealogy 436 255 258 2012 31
@bcgs_ca 1711 1089 586 2008 70
@AlbertaFHS 186 315 357 2010 0
@MbGenealogy 75 236 193 2009 0
@BIFHSGO  818 70 298 2011 11
@OGSLib 936 120 254 68
@NSAncestors 767 395 309 2012 24
@FHSNL 72 20 158 2010 3

US National Societies and those for the larger states were selected for study:  NGS, FGS, California GS, Southern California GS, Texas State GS, NEHGS, Gen Soc of PA, NYG&B, Illinios State GS, Ohio GS, DAR, Florida State GS.

All had links to their Twitter feed from the society website front page. The first joined Twitter in 2009, the last 2012 for a median year of 2010.

NGS and the two California societies were the early adopters. NGS has the most followers and adopts a restrained posting policy averaging twice per day last month. With nearly 500 posts in October FGS is extremely active in posting, reposting sometimes several times. Almost half the societies posted less than 10 times in October.

Here are the statistics as of the afternoon of Monday 3 November 2014.

Tweets Following Followers Joined Oct-14
@ngsgenealogy 3472 80 3625 2009 64
@FGSgenealogy 2283 2506 2850 2010 495
@CAancestors  2110 2207 2933 2009 88
@scgsgenealogy 1551 605 2378 2009 41
@TxSGS 1102 958 670 2012 36
@AncestorExperts 819 307 1864 2011 91
@genealogypa 525 570 760 2010 6
@nyfamilyhistory 448 611 1114 2010 7
@ILGenSoc 422 448 1297 2010 2
@OhioGenSoc 91 96 319 2012 6
@TodaysDAR 41 51 435 2010 5
@flsgs 20 30 40 2012 0


M. Diane Rogers said...

Thanks for posting this, John :-) In the far west at bcgs_ca, we do love Twitter. It's been a good place to get news about our BC Genealogical Society activities and events out locally and further, to share info, and sometimes opinions, about genealogy articles, issues and news, and to chat with other groups and genealogists. We also tweet from some events. Some groups though likely don't have people ready and willing to be so social. And sometimes even well established groups (not naming names) don't seem to 'get' how responsive you need to be on social networks like Twitter. Lots to learn. And always changes to roll with too.

Cea said...

This is pretty cool - now I have to tweet it everywhere ;-) It must be because BC is *awesome*!