Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don't Tweet? You're Not Alone

One of the social networking tools that didn't make it into my book was Twitter. Even now, I rarely use Twitter (except for a major burst at one event at the American Library Association conference in Chicago, IL).

Does Twitter have a future among genealogists? I'm still not at all sure. And this recent article gives me reason to wonder:

As with the teens, many genealogists are heavy users of Facebook (and now Genealogy Wise). So is there something unique to genealogists that would make us react differently to the use of Twitter? Hmmmm....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Late to bed (but early to rise), all is the fault of Genealogy Wise

When I've not been busy the past few weeks trying hopelessly to keep up with Facebook, or doing my first serious batch of "tweeting" at a session of the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Chicago, I've been astounded by the latest major entry into the realm of genealogy-oriented social networking: Genealogy Wise.

The easiest way to describe this new, free online service is to refer to it as "Facebook exclusively for genealogists", because it has many of the features of Facebook (profiles, friends, groups, etc.), but built entirely around a community of genealogists. Once genealogists discovered its existence (even prior to its official debut), Genealogy Wise grew its membership quickly, and at the time of this writing, has over 8000 members.

GW (if you don't mind my lazy abbreviation) also has over 2600 groups, with the largest being devoted to German research, Irish research, and the Find A Grave cemetery database site. There is a search facility just for groups, so you can find out if there is already one for your surname, your geographic area of research, your ethnic ancestry, or your favorite genealogy software or podcast. (In case you were wondering, we already have a GW fan site for The Genealogy Guys Podcast, with over 130 members.)

All the standard social networking features are here: the ability to upload photos and videos, to post comments on a wall, to create and participate in discussion threads, to chat in real time with other GW members, and to buy things from, the company behind GW.

GW is already a very busy place, with lots going on. I won't be surprised if Facebook loses a bit of its genealogy-related activity to GW, although most of us will be keeping our profiles on Facebook to keep in touch with our non-genealogy friends.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Google Wave

Perhaps the newest big thing in social networking is the recent announcement by Google about its new...product? platform? protocol? All of the above? The new thing is: Google Wave.

Google Wave was presented at the recent (May 27) keynote address at the Google I/O Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. What happens when you make a browser capable of mashing together all of the following communication/collaboration tools?

E-mail, mailing lists, message boards, Instant Messaging, blogs, wikis, collaborative documents, tags, photo sharing, video sharing, Facebook-like features...(you could probably throw in other stuff like bookmark-sharing, too).

Anyhow, my description will fall far short of any possible demo, so run, do not walk, to the video of that keynote demo, which you can find here:

Watch the video, and then tell me...can you imagine what this might do for collaborative genealogical research? The mind boggles!

Second Life - the book talk

I'm going to play a little catch-up on the blog with a few postings. First, I want to thank those who set up my recent book talk on Second Life, especially SLers Abbey Zenith and Cindy Elkhart. Second, I want to thank those who attended.

And finally, I'll share a photo taken during the book talk by Barbara Collazo:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PBwiki becomes...?

I had just finished a quick snack (a peanut butter sandwich), and by coincidence, saw this:

And there are some additional details here:

Since the fine folks at PBwiki will still own the domain, I'm sure that those going to the old address will be automatically redirected to the new one (which means that the link in the book will still work). I can't wait to see what the new name is.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The crazy world of Twitter

The social networking service that seems to be getting the most press these days is Twitter, but if you were a genealogist unfamiliar with Twitter, you'd probably get the impression that Twitter is apparently nothing more than a marketing scheme to advertise the likes of CNN, Ashton Kutcher, or possibly Oprah.

For those who haven't tried Twitter, don't worry: If you join Twitter, you won't be obligated to follow Kutcher or Oprah or any other celebrity. Twitter is a big "place", and you can use it to stay in touch with family, friends, and other genealogists, without ever seeing a single message about personalities you don't care about.

Monday, April 13, 2009

More than young whippersnappers on Facebook

I don't know whether or not genealogists can take the credit for this, but statistics are showing that the fastest growing age group for Facebook users is women 55 and older (and men 55 and older are the second fastest growing age group). Perhaps this is merely parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents keeping up with their younger relatives.

To read more about this phenomenon, see the recent CNN story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Even more sites - LinkedIn and Twitter

There are a few more sites that I would have included if I had had the time. One is LinkedIn, a great site for business networking, and another is Twitter, which has recently seen a dramatic increase in usage.

LinkedIn would have fit in the same chapter with Facebook. While there are probably far more genealogists on Facebook than on LinkedIn, LinkedIn would probably appeal more to the person who wants a more serious networking experience (without so much emphasis on photos, games, etc.). I see LinkedIn as a very appropriate networking site for professional researchers, librarians, archivists, writers, editors, speakers, and instructors (just to name a few).

Twitter has become the predominant networking site for the short message user. It may become especially handy at helping genealogists connect at major conferences.

If you're using either LinkedIn or Twitter as part of your genealogical life, why not let us know here in the comments?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Baby Boomers and social networking

Here's an article that directly addresses the myth that social networking is only for the under-50 crowd:

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Thursday evening, when I got home from work, I enjoyed opening a shipment of the first copies of my new book, Social Networking for Genealogists. This blog is intended to accompany the book, giving me a way to provide additional details about the book's contents, to publicize updates and corrections, and to give readers a chance to suggest other services and topics related to social networking as used by genealogists.

I look forward to reading your comments about the book!