08 June 2013

Learning the POWER of Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA . . . A hate / love relationship . . .

HATE . . .Social media has replaced letter writing, diaries, telephone calls, and face-to-face visits and conversations; it's "easier" to type one sentence (Twitter), small paragraph (FaceBook), or post a blog (Diary / Journal).  The down side?  I'll discuss in a future post.

What I LOVE about it?  Social media has the power to . . .

1.  . . . get information out to the masses (world-wide).  Quickly
2.  . . . connect with others of the same interests.  Instantly
3.  . . . learn.  Inexpensively
4.  . . . amass information; discover what you DO know and, what you DON'T. 
           'Nail' down your research
5.  . . . amass 'followers.'  One or more could be THE key to helping you break
           through or tear down that brick wall!
6.  . . . long-lasting; even after I've forgotten about it.  Numbers 1 - 6 replay
           ad infinitum

I took the leap into the 21st century and began my foray into social media back in February of this year; I started this blog, two FaceBook ancestral pages, with a goal to create more, and an occasional tweet.  Yet, I wasn't sure . . . about any of it.

Who would want to read about my ancestors?  After all, it has been difficult, to say the least, to get my own relatives interested in their ancestors' lives and stories.  What could I possibly share about my experiences and research journey?  I am a novice; while I have been interest in family history and genealogy for 25+ years, it has only been in the last seven years that I have really gotten started and have really put an effort into it.  Will there be a response?  Will it help me with my research?  Will I connect with and learn from others?

The answers are evolving, but I have had some initial successes . . .

--- Relatives are just getting interested in learning about and SEEING my research.  And, halleluja(!) , they are beginning to look for memorabilia that I might be interested in.  And, they are beginning to share their stories.  WIN!

--- Writing the blog, from a 'hobbyist' perspective has sparked friends and co-workers interest in their family history and genealogy.  WIN!

--- And, I worried about a response?
  • Someone from South America responded to my Black Sheep  post.  Imagine!  WIN!

  • Another person say my Missing Ancestor Report and reached out to let me know that we may have an ancestor, or at least, a person of interest, in common.  WIN!

  • Recently, while participating viewing a LiveStream video and participating in a Twitter Chat, I connected with someone who was from my 'old stomping ground.'  Turns out, a relative of theirs worked with my Grandfather in the 1940's AND, she has the surname, KRIEBEL, in the branches of her family tree.  WIN!  I am really looking forward to the stories their family member may be able to share about my Grandfather.

  • Being part of the blogging and FaceBook communities has encouraged and allowed me to connect with others of like interests; to gain exposure to resoures, infomation, genealogical 'tools' and tutorials that I otherwise would not have been aware of.  WIN!
And, they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

How are you using social media to advance your family history research to achieve your goals?  I'd love to hear your success stories.

SOCIAL MEDIA is a POWERFUL resource and tool and I look forward to learning other innovative ways to harness its power to connect with 'cousins' and to break through those brick walls.


  1. My Master's thesis was on social media usage. It was only a couple of years ago, but most of it still applies. It was geared towards a different audience, but I should update it to include the newer things that are out there or that have become more popular.

    1. Thank you for visiting and posting a comment. I hope you'll visit again.

  2. I have connected with four of my husbands family , Two are cousins of my Father-in-law who remember his Grandmother very well from when they were very young. they know each other, Two other cousins who do not know each otheror the 1sr set of cousins are descended from the Great Great grandparents. I t was so funny, I had "met" the one online and we'd exchanged info. I worked on a military base and thought I saw my 2nd son (not in the military) in uniform and freaked out thinking he worn his brother's uniform as some kind of prank....IT was my" cousin-friend's" son and the genetics are amazing! You would think they were much closer than 3rd or 4th cousins. Also Have run into the Starr name in conjuction with both my own and fmy husbands families. I think more as neighbors or "Associated" families . Both 3 of the 4 lines I focus on were in North America very early on.
    Some as early as Jamestown 1st settlement and in many different areas of the frontier.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Seashell; curious about where the STARR family you mentioned were from? Mine are (thus far) are predominantly from Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; Pottsville, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania; and Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

      So glad you stopped by and hope that you will again visit me at Family Preserves.