While most of the month of August 2008 was spent planning, preparing and administering the 2008 Genea-Blogger Games (along with the help of my able "do-ers" Miriam Midkiff Robbins and Kathryn Doyle), the days and weeks did fly by quickly. And now that it is over, I wanted to offer up this summary opinion of what those games meant to me and possibly the greater family history and genealogy community.
While this seems the most obvious area from which all participants benenfitted, it is even more important than you might think. I've heard from several people that they never learned the proper way to perform certain tasks such as scanning or citing sources. And for those that have learned how to perform those tasks, many found new and more efficient ways of getting the job done. And, with all our posting and communication on the "how to" aspect of these tasks, as a group we've begun to build a set of "best practices" for genea-bloggers.
I know for me, participating in all the events has honed and sharpened my focus with my own genealogy research. While working on each task within an event, I was able to see the weaknesses in terms of my skills and my research. Now I can go back and tend to those areas that need improvement such as organizing my research and backing up data.
The presence of the GB Games both in the blogosphere and on Facebook, allowed those spectators new to either genealogy, blogging, and/or social networking to witness the types of skills needed to be a genea-blogger. The events also highlighted the fact that genealogy is not all boring dates and names, research and data entry. Genea-blogging offers many ways to get involved with like-minded people, share information, find cousins, discuss issues and more. Given some recent criticism about "stay at home" genealogists, I think it was important to show our community that one does not have to remain isolated by being a genea-blogger.
The inception of the first Genea-Blogger Games has come at a time with the creation of the Genea-Blogger Group on Facebook. As the group rapidly adds members, we've seen the steady but strong building of an on-line community that has the potential to accomplish great things, both on-line and in-person.
To that end, many have been asking for other methods of connecting, including web conferencing, webcasts and even attending a conference in the flesh! Several die-hard genea-bloggers have begun to discuss the formation of a formal genea-bloggers society and all the benefits and responsibilities that go along with it. Look for more information in the coming weeks and months!
I've been involved in way too many groups, both real world and virtual, in which egos get involved, there is constant crisis, and many participants leave to lick their wounds. In the past year of involvement with the genea-blogger community, I've yet to encounter a situation in which someone was miffed, or angry or felt the need to lash out. That isn't to say that we aren't human and that it can't happen. Perhaps because many of us are researching families and ancestors who may have kept secrets, betrayed each other, caused great hurt to others - perhaps that is why we are a bit more sensitive to those possible problems and we are proactive about them. For me, in the genea-blogger community I am able to interact with people of different faiths, political views, opinions of issues and yet still understand that there is a base need to connect and try to find common ground to do so.