Monday, December 13, 2010

Reflections on Genealogy Blogs & This Blog

Most of you are aware that it's voting time for Family Tree Magazine's favorite blogs. As I began to go through the choices -- and yes, I loaded every blog to give all those with which I was unfamiliar as well as those I read regularly an equal chance, I noticed some trends. I tended to not vote for blogs which had almost meme-related posts exclusively. With the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories in full swing, I had to scroll back all the way to November to see non-meme posts for some blogs to see what those writers I did not regularly read brought to blogging which was unique. Blogs that only posted to memes such as the tombstone and wordless ones showed little creativity in my opinion. Blogs with super long entries also did not fare well in my voting. With the number of blogs that I try to read, it would be impossible to read entries like that on a daily basis -- especially if they were not immediately relevant to my own research or to areas in which I spend a great deal of time researching. Blogs that focused almost exclusively on reviews also did not get my vote. I think I've seen too many software reviews lately. One blog that I used to read regularly and enjoyed is so full of software reviews now that I've considered dropping it from my feed reader. It used to be more eclectic in nature.

I haven't been blogging as much lately. There are a variety of reasons contributing to my lack of blogging . . . other priorities, illness in the family, blogging burnout, and working on client research rather than my own. I have good intentions, and I know I need to get back to it, but I haven't. I also noticed signs of this same problem among some of the blogs that were nominated. One blog (which used to be a favorite) had not been updated in the last calendar year. I've at least written a handful of posts in that time. Others were infrequent, having only a handful of posts as well. Other blogs seem to be suffering a little "fatigue." They aren't quite as engaging as they once were. It's as though they were writing out of a sense of obligation rather than having something about which they are excited to share. I'll also confess a little secret to you. I hate the word "geneablog." I prefer to use the phrase "genealogy blog" or "family history blog," a term which is much more likely to be utilized by those looking for genealogy-related blogs than an invented term. I know that the English language is evolving, but that's one term that I'd rather have omitted from dictionaries. It's so prevalent that its use will be continued in genealogy blogging circles regardless of my thoughts on the matter. I think the one thing that bugs me about the use of the term is that I feel "trapped" by it. When I began Smoky Mountain Family Historian back in June of 2004, my intent was never to blog exclusively about genealogy. My intent was to blog about anything that interested me or caught my attention. It was to be a reflection of my whole person. I often shared reviews of books that I read. I shared things about my cat. I shared other things. In order to recapture my enthusiasm, I'm going back to my original intent for this blog. You are going to see many aspects of my life as well as glimpses into my genealogical research. I hope that this change back to the original direction of my blog does not cause you to leave. I just need to recapture my enthusiasm for blogging!


Anonymous said...


I've noticed a trend...there seem to be quite a few of us that need to recapture our enthusiasm! I applaud your public admission of voting for creativity. I don't read every genealogy blog out there, but I am huge fans of the ones that give me something unique and original to read, learn, think about.


Jasia said...

Bravo, Lori! So well said!

I too have seen many genealogy bloggers come to rely on memes, ad nauseum in my opinion. It is a struggle to come up with fresh content when you've been doing it for years. I admit that's true. And sometimes it's nice to "join in" with others on a given topic (like the COG ;-) But I've stopped following over half of the blogs I once followed because their content became so predictable week-to-week and not relevant to anything but their own research. I miss the creativity we once saw in the genealogy blogging community (I too refrain from using the term Genea-bloggers anymore unless I'm referring to the specific group on FB).

I miss all the off-genealogy-topic articles I used to see on others' blogs. It seems to me those really dropped off after the big migration to FB. I miss writing them too. I used to write about a lot of other stuff but then I was informed my blog wasn't taken seriously in the genealogy community because of all the off-topic articles I had.

I look forward to reading your blog Lori. Yours is one I've never stopped subscribing to. Keep writing whatever moves you and I'll keep reading!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

Your blog, your rules. I say it to all the new bloggers, but sometimes we all need to re-evaluate.

I'll always read you blog, so get writing!

Barbara Poole said...

I enjoyed this post, and feel the same way. Now to Follow you! BTW, most if not all of my material is original and I do few if any memes, but I didn't get nominated, nor did some of the very best blogs. Oh well.

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