What value do you feel various Web 2.0 tools add to genealogy?

<div class=\"postavatar\">What value do you feel various Web 2.0 tools add to genealogy?</div>

I would be interested to hear people’s thoughts on what value you feel (or IF you feel) blogs, wikis, social networking (facebook, twitter, etc), and any other tool I am omitting, actually add? Thus far in the young life of this blog, there hasn’t been much discussion, but hopefully a few of you will take the time to comment. Pass the link on to your friends, and feel free to add this site to your blogrolls. Here’s my $.02:

It seems like all of these tools could have a useful place. However, I think the choices are a little on the overwhelming side. Even for me, who is fluent with technology, there are too many options. If I want to reach a wide genealogy audience, how do I do best it? (Not saying I do – this is hypothetical) What do you feel is the best use of blogs? Of wikis? Of social or professional networking sites?

Of the above choices, I would say that the wiki holds the most promise of usefulness for genealogical purposes. I think some of the wiki material at familysearch is awesome, and a tremendous source of information. Blogs can be interesting, but other than a few of the big names, I don’t really read them. I find if you don’t follow them regularly, it’s hard to extract much useful information.

Social networking (or professional networking) sites seem to hold promise, but no one really seems to use them- at least not in the areas I ‘ve looked. For example: The Ohio Genealogical Society boasts that it has the largest membership of any state genealogical society. The OGS on Facebook? 48 members. If you do use these tools, what do you use them for?

Maybe this is the post that will help me see what I am missing. So let’s hear from some of you and your thoughts on these technologies. Here is a helpful list to compare your replies with others:

1. Which 2.0 tool do you use most often for genealogy?
2. Can you cite a specific instance of something you gained from a 2.0 tool that you otherwise would not have been able to (or would have taken a longer time)?
3. Do you feel the time spent using and updating your blogs, twitter tweets, facebook, etc, is time well spent? Why?

Feel free to add thoughts other than those three answers.

This entry was posted in Thoughts and Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What value do you feel various Web 2.0 tools add to genealogy?

  1. avatar Randy Seaver says:

    Chris, I have commented on your question at http://www.geneamusings.com/2009/03/chris-staats-on-staats-place-blog-has.html.

    Thanks for posing the question! — Randy

  2. Pingback: The Genealogical Value of The Social Networking Related Sites

  3. Dawg – Check It Out!

    A very interesting thought provoking article, as was Randy’s answer. I agree with Randy on just about everything he said.

    I found you by way of Randy’s posting of his article to Twitter. I find a tremendous amount of very interesting material in all areas on Twitter. It is a supplement to my blogs (yes, plural).

    My blogs have put me in touch with so many relatives I didn’t know I had, so quickly, it has more than made up for the hard work it takes to keep current. I have been given information, stories, and photographs instantly, which otherwise might never have been found.

    My passion for photographs and telling their stories through research on Shades has led to reuniting families with their lost treasures, both photographs and stories. I couldn’t have done it any place but on my blogs.

    The online world is absolutely amazing! We have just begun to tap into its potential. My philosophy is try everything. Some of it will work. Some of it will be a waste of time and if it is move on.

    I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings as we refine and hone the skills of the genealogist in this new age.

    -footnoteMaven
    http://www.shadesofthedeparted.com
    http://www.footnotemaven.com

  4. avatar Staats Chris says:

    I see you visited the “about” page :)

    Thanks for stopping by. I agree with all of Randy’s post, and also with footnoteMaven that we have yet to really tap into the use of 2.0 tools for genealogy. I think this will probably spark a series of questions as I try and figure out for myself (and others) how best to utilize what’s available.
    I have a couple of fun ideas too, but haven’t put any meat on their bones yet. More to follow!

  5. Hello, it’s nice to meet you and welcome to Geneabloggers! I am commenting here from the point of view of a non-professional.
    I too have felt that comments-discussion were rather rare until recently. In my case that was partly my fault because I’ve been using my blog more as a web publishing tool as opposed to a discussion place. In recent weeks there’s been quite an uptick in traffic and I think part of that is because I needed to be online for a certain amount of time so that people could find me and get a feel for who I am. Also – this may be a coincidence – but part of the increased “conversation” came after I installed a “Recent Comments” widget in the sidebar.
    One challenge is that the communication tends to continue offline – so I’m experimenting now with my “Evelyn in Montreal” so that I can move the conversation back to the site whenever possible (and appropriate).
    To date the communication is primarily 2-way (me to reader and back again) but discussion among readers will hopefully come as well!
    I’ve enjoyed reflecting on this topic.
    Thank you!

  6. avatar Staats Chris says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Let the discussions begin! I was amazed at how many people found there way here after that post. I have a stat-tracking widget, and most of the traffic came from twitter initially, but switched to coming mainly from links in other blogs. By the way, Randy’s initial response was actually in the wrong post, and everyone followed suit. I took the liberty of moving them to the correct post. I had started on a response to Randy’s excellent answer. However, it quickly grewout of control, and I may break it up so I can develop the answer a little more fully. I am excited at the possibilities that interactivity provide for web-based genealogy. The down-side is that a large number of the genealogical community are afraid of new technology. Many feel, “Oh no, I just figured out message boards and mailing lists. Now what?” I think there is a challenge in making all these great tools accessible and easy to use for novices.

    Thanks for the reply!

  7. avatar Keith Botley says:

    My first thought is that even though more genealogical data is posted to the web every day the majority has not been digitized or is locked into proprietary non standards compliant data schemes such as gedcom and other application databases that offer little in the way of export to a flexible user definable format. How about some web services to foster data sharing and collaboration. Loosely defined web 1.0 is the static web and web 2.0 is the dynamic, data driven, web application web so the value of web 2.0 to the genealogical community is huge.