Last week, as I prepared to travel to Atlanta for the Atlanta Family History Expo, I took a closer look at a new site called Lanyrd which bills itself as “the social conference directory.” I wanted a way for members of GeneaBloggers and others in the genealogy community to “track” the news from the expo since many would not be able to attend the actual event.
So, I spent a few hours entering all the sessions from the expo as well as the speakers. A lot of work but it also enabled me to try out all the features of Lanyrd and to understand how the site could be used for genealogy and family history conferences.
Twitter Account Required
A Twitter account is required to add new conferences and to mark yourself as tracking or attending a conference. You don’t need a Twitter account if you simply want to see what conferences are in the Lanyrd listings.
Once you are logged in, however, you can see all the conferences on your calendar. These listings appear for the conferences you are tracking, attending, or even where your Twitter friends are speaking.
Entering Conference Information
Below is the listing for the Atlanta Family History Expo held last week. You’ll notice that there are 39 speakers listed. Those with profile photos have Twitter accounts (or at least those I was able to identify). Lanyrd does allow you to create profile for those speakers without Twitter accounts.
Lanyrd allows you to enter many links to the event, to its Twitter account, provides a shortened URL to the page, and even creates an iCal / Outlook calendar entry so folks can download the event to their own calendars! Also, on the sidebar you can enter links to other blog posts or articles that are “covering” the conference.
The most time-consuming part of adding a new conference to Lanyrd is entering the sessions. Here is a partial list of every session and its speaker at the Atlanta Family History Expo.
Coverage – Conference and Individual Sessions
Entering individual sessions is important because you can then link that session to a speaker. More importantly, you can also link the session to other “coverage” items such as blog posts, articles, even slideshows, a syllabus and handouts!
Speakers can log into Lanyrd once they’ve been designated as a presenter for a specific session and add information to their profile (a Twitter account is really required to get the most out of the Speaker profile). I love the fact that I can link any of my books that I’ve written so that it appears on my profile.
I think Lanyrd is a great way for those who can’t physically attend a genealogy conference to follow what is going on. Also, many times a conference website will remove information once the event is over – Lanyrd offers a way to “memorialize” what happened, the sessions, the speakers, etc.
To get the full benefits of Lanyrd, you really need to sign in which requires a Twitter account. After all, this is a way of tracking the social media news on a conference.
I don’t think I’ll be entering information for other genealogy conferences – I’ll leave that up to the conference planners. But I am hoping that those companies and organizations with upcoming genealogy conferences will take the time to add their conferences, enter the sessions and speakers so that the entire genealogy community can get the most out of the event.
©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee