Monday, August 25, 2008

What Did The Genea-Blogger Games Mean?

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.

Skill Building

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.

Community Building

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.


Denise L said...

Well said, Thomas. At the SoCalGen Jamboree in Burbank this June I attended two genealogy blogging sessions and was left wanting. The Bloggers Summit was great, but made me sad for the genealogists who attended hoping to find a session that would help them discover what blogs were, and how they could benefit from them.

When I saw the organizer in July, I suggested that we form a bloggers insterest group. If you organize it-- they will come. (maybe). I think you have a great idea to form some sort of bloggers group. I'm even thinking of proposing a session at next year's Jamboree to help blog readers get their feet wet. My mom and my aunt are now avid blog readers, but I'll bet there are more genealogists who would like a little help (or push).

Lisa said...

Thanks, Thomas, for your work on this project and all of the things that you do to get so many of us connected. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. You have been instrumental in helping to form the "community" that you are talking about.

The Genea-Blogger Group Games was a wonderful exercise in "focus" and in "connections", as you mentioned.

Your additional ideas are very good ones. I look forward to seeing how our community of genealogy bloggers develops in the future.

Count me in!

Small-leaved Shamrock
A light that shines again
100 Years in America

Terry Thornton said...

HEAR! HEAR! The games and the group organization which you and the other administrators have put together indicates to this "die-hard" HOGS BLOGGER that, indeed, we do need a formal society/association of the genea-blogging community. Count on my support!
Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

M. Diane Rogers said...

Hi, Thomas - great analysis of the Games and ideas for the future!

I wonder if the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE)would be interested in a specific section or 'chapter' for genealogy bloggers?