Send a message to your new relatives asking them to tell you their favorite song. The key here is writing an email that’s not too long, gives information about the project, and most importantly about you, because you may share a bit of DNA, but you’re still a stranger. In my request, I included a link to my public social profiles: personal website, LinkedIn, etc. so they knew I was a real person. Here’s the exact message I sent. Download it and personalize it with your information. I got a much better response rate than I anticipated—the current playlist has over 100 entries, so it worked!
Record responses in a spreadsheet to keep track of the information and identify trends. Feel free to add/remove data fields to make it your own.
I used Spotify because it was easiest to build and embed the playlist. Although, you may find some platforms don’t have all the songs you need. For instance, some Beyonce tracks weren’t on Spotify, so anyone who chose those songs got left off.
Once you’re comfortable with the size of your list, reach out to all of the contributors with a link to the playlist. You can add new entries in real time, so even if there aren’t as many songs as you want, you can share it now and build it as new songs are collected.
If, like me, you want to explore more than just the playlist aspect of your DNA research journey, I recommend creating your own website/blog like this one. Depending on your comfort level, there are a million options that may work for you — from a DIY project built on the increasingly popular SquareSpace or something that requires you to call in a pro.
You will also have to pick a domain name for your site, get a custom logo, choose a website host, and…this conversation is quickly getting beyond my scope of expertise, so if you’re not sure about this, find a website developer you trust to help you figure it all out.
For me, this is a hobby site, so I didn’t want to spend a ridiculous amount on it, and there are options for every price point. For instance, for the logo, working with a professional can run up a nice bill, but I got a really strong contender from Fiverr.com for $20— it wasn’t the most inspired thing you’d seen in your life, but it got the job done. Ultimately, though, the current logo was one I got on TailorBrands.com for about $30. This website is built on WordPress and designed by Cori Snedecor, my go-to for all WordPress website needs. She also designed my personal site, RosilynRayborn.com.
Click the Contact button and let me know how it’s going, ask questions, give feedback on my playlist, share your own, or you know, just to say “hi.”