Sunday, July 17, 2011

You'll find newer posts at my other blog, Rootsmithing

As you've probably noticed that I haven't had the opportunity to update this blog since last December, I'd encourage you to head over to my other blog, Rootsmithing: Genealogy, Methodology, and Technology.  I'll definitely be covering social networking topics (as they relate to genealogy) over there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Looking back at 2009

It's been almost a year since I completed the manuscript for Social Networking for Genealogists, but of course during that year, the world didn't stand still. Existing social networking tools continued to develop, while new ones appeared and genealogists began to use them.
  • Twitter took off near the beginning of 2009, and continues to be an item for discussion both outside and within the genealogical community. The mailing list of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) had a number of discussions about the ethics and legalities of "tweeting" during a genealogical presentation. It remains somewhat difficult for me to determine what significant impact, if any, Twitter will have on genealogical research. Twitter's strengths seem to come out during live events, so we may expect it to be used during genealogical conferences, especially for attendees to let others know where they are and what they are doing.
  • Genealogy Wise (I'm often tempted to write it as a single word, due to the way that it's logo kerns the "W" so close to the word "Genealogy"), affectionately known as "GW", exploded into existence in the summer of 2009, and as I write this, it has more than 16,000 members. It's an ideal replacement for those who want something similar to Facebook without all the non-genealogy aspects, although I'm sure that many people use both Facebook and GW. When I find more time to work on my personal genealogy, I expect that I'll start spending some time on GW, so that I can network with the other genealogists working the same geographic areas.
  • Google teased us all with a presentation of Google Wave at a developers conference in late May 2009. But it wasn't until early November that I received my own invitation to try Google Wave, and during the November-December time period, I actually used it with a number of my library colleagues to plan and implement a new website for the USF Tampa Library. It was certainly a learning experience! What worked best was that it took all of the communication away from my overburdened e-mailbox, and made it possible to mix synchronous (real-time chat-style) communication with asynchronous (e-mail/message board-style) communication in the same threads. I really see this one as an interesting and useful tool for small groups, such as genealogy society boards/committees, genealogy event planners, and researchers working the same person/lines.

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: