How to run the next #Scanfest on #Twitter  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , ,

Warning: This has nothing to do with family history except for the fact I propose an interesting way to use Twitter for the next scanfest.

Since I still think that Twitter is just a big single-channel chat room, I thought it might be a great way to run scanfest. For those who don't know, scanfest is the once-a-month multi-user chat event that brings genealogists together as they go through the mundane task of scanning old photos and documents. It's on the last Sunday of every month and usually hosted by @kidmiff (Miriam Robins Midkiff of the Ancestories blog).

In the past scanfest has been run on several platforms with varying success. And here's why I think Twitter will be very successful:

  1. Anyone can join.
  2. No limitation on number of particpants.
  3. Get genealogists more involved in Twitter.
  4. Twitter is searchable and might lead to new relative connections somewhere down the road.
  5. Immediately archived, so if someone is late and want to catch up they can.
  6. People can get updates on their mobile devices even if they can't participate.

Now some of you might think I've lost my mind because the standard Twitter web site is static and requries constant refreshing. But there are some excellent tools out there that will allow for really easy chatting:

  1. Twitterfall - This site really turns twitter into a chat client. The beauty is in the filtering capabilities. If you just add #scanfest to your filter n the left you will only see tweets about scanfest! You can control how quickly the tweets fall down the screen by setting the speed on the right as well as animation effect, theme and other settings. You can retweet, reply, favorite, direct message and follow new users!
  2. Twitpic - A simple photo sharing site for Twitter users. If you want to share one of your recently scanned images, just twitpic it and add the #scanfest tag and everyone can see it!
  3. TweetDeck - Tweetdeck is an Adobe Air Twitter desktop application that lets you monitor several columns of info and apply filters and setting to each one. You can open up a @relpies column to see if someone was replying to you specifically. You can also submit an image to Twitpic right out of TweetDeck as well.

I'm sure there are other methods that can be used, but these are just my initial thoughts. I'm sure Thomas will have something to say about this topic :-)

Well that's it. That was my idea. I have never actually participated in scanfest, because it's on a weekend and during time I usually spend with family, but I thought this would be a great way to do it. And basically this could be a way to do any sort of group chat. The only drawback is that people who post their tweets to facebook might annoy their followers there. But one way to get over that is to use @scanfest at the start of your tweet or some other method to avoid it from updating facebook. I'm just thinking out loud at this point.

What do you think?

BTW, you can follow me on Twitter here: @abba_dad.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 7:11 AM and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


As I said in my tweet over at Twitter, I love the idea that we could leverage Twitter using Twitpic to show people what we are scanning, and we could have a record of our tweets using Twitter search, I have this main concern:

one of the biggest aggravations for me are people I follow in Twitter who insist on "broadcasting" a play by play of an event such as NCAA game, etc. If I wanted that I have a television, thank you.

If we use Twitter for Scanfest I can guarantee that some of us will lose followers - which may or may not be a good thing.

A better alternative might be from the makers of

As Mashable describes it (, you can talk by voice, type and post pics as well.


March 25, 2009 at 11:36 AM

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