One of the highlights of the recent 3rd History & Genealogy Cruise was the ‘Social Media Panel’. Chaired by Jill Ball, and with Shauna Hicks, Louis Kessler, Helen Smith and myself as panelists, Jill asked us questions regarding social media, which each of us answered.
As we all use social media differently it gave those those who came to this presentation an overview of how it can be used in many ways.
Now Jill has turned the social media questions into a geneameme, and is asking those in the geneasphere to get some answers to the questions that she posed to the panel.
1. Tell us about your favourite social media tool and why you like it.
During the panel I did answer Twitter to this, which is partially correct. I actually have fav’s for different things. For general interaction I like Facebook, for more indepth stories there are blogs. For the latest genealogy news and happenings around the world I do like Twitter. Twitter also has a fabulous bunch of genealogy nuts on there who are more than happy to help, advise and share in your excitement no matter what time of day or night you have ‘THAT” find.
2. How do you use social media to further your genealogy career or business?
As I am the social media manager for Gould Genealogy, I get to manage (write) the blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and the Google+ page. Although there is a little crossover, the greater proportion of each has it’s own audience. So using these mediums we announce new products, events, general genealogy news, help with people’s questions and so on.
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 the Social Media presentation)
Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter etc. are still scary to some people, so in the panel I answered this question by suggesting following a few key blogs, and get on to Mailing Lists (like RootsWeb), ask your questions, and you might just be surprised at what answers you get.
4. What aspect of Social Media makes you grit your teeth?
I do have two pet hates in relation to social media, the first is seeing people swear online and the other is people tweeting ‘during’ conference talks. I’m more than happy for people to say what talk is coming up next, or what they just went to, but during just gel with me.
5. How does social media assist with your CGD (continuing genealogical development)?
For me personally, recording family stories on my blog allows be to see what I do know, and what I still don’t in relation to a person or family. As far as work goes constant reading of blogs, twitter, facebook pages, and to some degree Google+ keeps me up to date with the latest happenings in the genie world, which then allows me to pass that information on to our followers, and customers.
6. How do you fit social media time into your busy day?
I’m a bit spoilt at is it actually part of my job. But in reality it is an all day/night job/obsession, and I tend to me on it most of the day.
7. Do you have a story of how social media enabled you to connect with a long lost relation or fellow researcher?
I have two stories that relates to connnecting to family through social media. The first was that I was snailmailing reli’s in Finland, and at some stage sent them a Facebook friend request, and luckily for me they joined up, and now I get to ‘be’ a part of my 3rd cousin’s life which I otherwise wouldn’t know. Facebook can tell you so much more than a letter. Anyway my other story is that someone googled for a person’s name, and my blog came up, as I have the family’s Family Bible, and made mention of it, and the names in it. Since then we have been in touch a few times, and exchanged family photos.
8. You have a minute to share a piece of advice about genealogy and social media. Go for it.
I won’t type a minute’s worth of response here, but in my option each social media site is different: Facebook is great for interaction, Twitter is great for news, Google+ has some great genealogy communities, and blogs allow you to tell your stories. If you are going to use multiple social media tools, you might like to manage them through something like TweetDeck or Gremln which allow you to follow your various streams as well as other keywords you choose, all from within one window.
Thomas MacEntee from Geneabloggers has produced cheat sheets for the following which are slightly dated since the sites do change, but the essence is still largely the same.
– Blogger and WordPress
So using social media for genealogy … just take baby steps if wish, or take the big leap. Trust me you won’t look back though.