As Facebook enters its eighth year and many other social networking sites become publicly-traded companies (LinkedIn, Groupon, Yelp, Zynga, Twitter), it seems that social media is here to stay.
As genealogists, how can we embrace today’s online social media tools to further our research? I’ve spoken to people who – through social networking – find both long lost cousins and other family members. Some find family they did not know they had.
One society I know of uses the free online meet-up technology available through GooglePlus – they are called Hangouts – to hold weekly meetings without leaving home.
There is so much knowledge and shared experience in the blogosphere. Whether it is a wiki website with user-submitted articles or a professional genealogist sharing his or her experience, blogs offer relevant hints and tricks. If you are not already familiar with blogs, follow a few presenters from a recent conference, company page or visit Geneabloggers.com for a comprehensive list of genealogy blogs. Once you find writers who resonate with you on your favorite social networking site, it’s like checking the daily news. You’ll receive valuable insights and entertaining snippets.
Microblogging, blogging but on a smaller scale, allows people to share quick bits of content. Whether you want to share a link to a great video or just your thoughts at the moment, Twitter is the most common forum for microbloggers. If you aren’t into sharing right away, following others is a fascinating way to learn about current trends. It feels as if you are listening simultaneously to 100 conversations. It is easy to see what topics are most commonly discussed. Are you are a visual person? There are sites to pin images of products, fun ideas or content as well like Pinterest. Whatever your style, share the best of what you find online within your network and learn new ideas from others — that’s what it’s all about. (more…)