Jill Ball at Geniaus put forward a small geneame on Social Media and asked if we were up for the challenge. Before proceeding I firstly needed to be clear, in my own head, just what it is that I’m discussing … so turned to the “Google” search engine and decided this is the most fitting which came from “The Social Media Guide”.
“Social Media is the sharing of user (human) created information and interacting on-line using Internet technology.”
1. Tell us about your favourite social media tool and why you like it.
I love it all but my favouite definitely is Facebook because it’s here that I connect with family and friends, whom I rarely get to see face to face, and “press the flesh”, so to speak. More recently genealogy friends have sent “friend requests” which is great, but my FBook focus is still on family matters, with a little of the genealogy thrown in.
However, my genealogical use of Facebook is through specific interest groups… and for this it’s brilliant!!!
2. How do you use social media to further your genealogy career or business?
Genealogy is a hobby for me, not a career. I use Facebook, Blogging and Twitter to pass on family stories and share interesting info which may be useful to others who are researching their Family History. Have had a bit of a dabble with Pinterest, just to see what it’s about, but haven’t got far with that. Was encouraged by my nephew to join Linkedn but haven’t gone very far with that either. However, YouTube is an absolute must and vid’s are often included in my Blog posts to illustrate or accentuate a point… or just for fun.
3. What advice would you give the cruiser who said “I must be living
under a rock” and is not sure about coming out from under it? (This came from my Social Media presentation)
It makes me sad that so many, of my age, shy away from the computer. However, through my teaching career, I know that the best and quickest way for a person to learn something is if they have a need. So, I tend to talk to people about what fun it is for me, how much information (of all sorts) is online and how surprising easy I found it to be and suggest they might enjoy it too. If they start to show interest I point out ways they can begin to learn about it e.g. local library lessons, adult education courses etc… and, of course, am always willing to lend a hand if it’s what they want.
4. What aspect of Social Media makes you grit your teeth?
None really… I do get slighly irritated when fascinating blogs restrict access and wonder why they don’t simply add access via an email link… If they did, I’d follow them.
I get a little “miffed” when feeling like I’m constantly talking to myself. Of course I don’t expect every comment to get a response but sometimes eventually do come to the conclusion that what I have to say is either boring to that person, or they don’t want/ value comments, so I just stop commenting, whether it’s Facebook or Blogs. After all, social media is a 2 way street and anything else is really just a news report, I reckon, and requires no comment. However, I do realise that having “WordPress” as a blogging platform gives me a huge advantage in that I’m notified if people comment and they can indicate if they want a reply, or to read comments by others, etc… so it’s very easy for me, and my readers, to maintain contact. So, lack of a response really isn’t a problem nor does it make me “grit” my teeth but can be mildly irritating, at times.
Am also greatful that “WordPress” has “Asmiket“ and chucks out the SPAM… whooo hooo!… which also means that I don’t have to use those annoying/ eye straining “captcha” devices… phew.
5. How does social media assist with your CGD (continuing genealogical development)?
Access to on-line data bases because so much of my research is overseas… I keep my ancestry blog private, for reasons I don’t need to go into here, but love it when people contact me about a family member and we begin a dialogue. Have discovered heaps of “cousins” that way via Ancestry messages.
Then all kinds of tips, technological advice etc. which people blog about… which I always try to try to pass on. I especially value those readers of my blog who give suggestions as to possibilities for chipping away at some of those “brick walls”.
Twitter is brilliant for quick links which often lead to extremely valuable information. I don’t use twitter for personal reasons but do post blogs of friends and family, whether they’re genealogical or not, and re-tweet. It’s such a thrill when someone re-tweets something of mine and always try to send a thankyou fo the RT. Retweets come up on my email so it’s very easy and quick to do.
WordPress also has a wonderful “re-blogging” facility, which makes it so easy to re- blog the post another WordPress user which is particularly captivating and interesting.
It’s a wonderful way to share information and value the work of other bloggers.
6. How do you fit social media time into your busy day?
Being retired means I have much more “leisure” time now so it’s not a problem. My children, and grandchildren’s, legacy is the extensive family tree I’ve put together, and the family stories on my blog to back it up… so it’s time well spent and a joy. Also, I need to get as much recorded before I too “fall off the twig”. ha ha ha…
Having said that, I don’t let it rule my life. Sometimes I just need to slow down and sometimes even have a complete break for awhile… Remembering always my dear mum’s warning… “Don’t make a rod for your own back, Catherine!”
I always start with Facebook to see how my loved ones are travelling and then to emails. The first to be opened are the personal, then on to emails about my blog posts comments and those re: from blogger friends, then back to Facebook and my Genealogical Groups… Back to emails and other blogs and tweets but not always in that order… My priority is always family contact.
7. Do you have a story of how social media enabled you to connect with a long lost relation or fellow researcher?
Many amazing examples but two of the best are:
(a) Locating a half cousin in Canada. I discovered, initially via Ancestry, that my dad’s father scarpered from the UK across to Canada, less that 12 months after dad was born, and had another family over there. So I “googled” the Surname + City & Province and up came a Blog about about the re-development of a defence housing estate. Scrolling through various names and details made me strongly suspect some of the names were referring to my Canadian “step- family” so left a comment. Six months later it received a reply and June is the only other living Grandaughter, grew up with our Grandfather, is the “keeper” of all the records/ photos and we’re so happy working together to record and connect his two families. What a joy!
(b) Receiving a surprise Ancestry message from Queensland advising that a woman, here in Adelaide, was writing a “Hembury Family History Book” and my Tree on Ancestry showed that mine was the only family they knew of re: one particular family line. The question was: Did I know any other members of that line? Well, I didn’t cos it’s my former husband’s family via his Nana… Anyway, I got to it cos it’s my children & their children’s direct ancestors/descendants and, HOOLEY DOOLEY, ended up with SO much info. Our Branch ended up with the biggest turn up at the Hembury Reunion/ book launch and there are more reunions to come… amazing!!!
8. You have a minute to share a piece of advice about genealogy and social media. Go for it.
Well, I began blogging because I saw it as a way to record Family Stories that could be accessed not just by my children/ grandchildren but by nieces and nephews whom I rarely see nowadays. The best thing I did, with the help of my children, was to research and give careful thought to which blogging platform would best suit me and then just went for it.
There’s lots of on-line information to help you along and the genealogical community is so generous with their support and advice so make contact, maintain communication, offer your own support and encouragment and you’ll never be sorry.
Social Media is about communicating through technology so try it all. You’ll soon work out what works best for you. Finally, always being willing to give new “things” a try, ask for help and most of all enjoy!!!
Why don’t you take up Jill’s challenge and share your thoughts on the use of Social Media for Genealogy? Just click HERE for the questions and be sure to send Jill a link back to your post. Cheerio, Catherine.
Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel