Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on Genealogy-Specific Social Networking

This week we heard about a new social network that is specifically designed for those researching family history. The network is called Genealogy Wise or GenealogyWise. (They originally did not have a space, and now they do.) It's really not officially debuting until July 17, but hundreds of folks researching their ancestry have already flocked there.

My initial reaction was, "Why would I want another social network that I would have to visit on a daily basis that limits itself to only one group of my friends?" After signing up for the site out of curiosity, my initial reaction remains unchanged.

I am unimpressed with the "groups" which seem to be nothing other than queries for the most part that are already handled well by genealogy message boards and mailing lists. I have to admit that I started one group just so I could see exactly what administrative options were present. I am absolutely unimpressed with many of the undocumented family group sheet style posts that are being posted to the groups.

I joined one group on the first day. About the second day, there were about 20 people who were members of the group. I decided to glance through the membership and see how many were members of the corresponding state society and of APG. I was the only person signed up for the group who was a member of either. That told me something about this new social networking site because I knew it had been advertised to professional genealogists.

This social network is sponsored by FamilyLink. I've seen it reported on other blogs that they are paying some people to generate content. Unfortunately it is being buried under the deluge of queries being posted.

I really prefer Facebook for social networking because most of my genealogy friends as well as friends from church, high school, college, and other parts of my life are members. If I want to post a query, I'll do it on a message board.

Am I leaving GenealogyWise? Not yet. I'm not saying that I won't in the future. I'm giving it a chance. At the moment, it is not useful for me.


Anonymous said...


I agree with the "So what?" factor. In one large group I joined (100+ members), few are starting "discussions" but dozens are leaving comments that amount to nothing more than what you get at various surname boards already available. Nice idea, but as yet I'm not impressed.


DianaR said...

Hi Lori ~ I've joined and so far haven't found it to be anything other than another thing to take my time. All the groups - 1,503 at this moment - are too hard to sort through for me. I guess we'll see.

Thomas MacEntee said...

Thanks Lori for your take on GenealogyWise - time will tell whether this site is able to hold the attention of the genealogy crowd rather than just captivate it.

Kathryn Doyle said...

Hi Lori,
So far I am in total agreement with you. The one advantage I see over Facebook is the nice surname feature. I hate the "preaching to the choir" aspect of GenealogyWise. We need to expose our youth to genealogy, although I guess it's possible that now that so many over 50s have joined, the kids will go elsewhere. Time will tell.