Open Thread Thursday: Tweeting and Blogging at Genealogy Conferences

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Having returned from a week in Knoxville where many genealogy bloggers attended the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Annual Conference from August 18 to August 21, 2010, some interesting issues come up involving social media and genealogy conferences. In addition, some bloggers also attended the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 also in Knoxville where the same issues arose.

During several sessions, presenters or those introducing the presenters, stated that blogging and/or tweeting of sessions was prohibited. Neither event had a prepared social media policy in place and printed in the program.

Over the past two years, as genealogists and family historians have realized the value of social media in relation to their research and the ability to connect with others, practices such as tweeting and live blogging at genealogy conferences has increased as well.  However, when compared to other types of conferences, the genealogy industry lags far behind the use of social media.

* * *

For our Open Thread Thursday, please comment on these issues:

  • If you did not attend #fgs10 last week, did you follow along via blog posts and/or tweets on Twitter?
  • If you attended #fgs10 last week, what are your thoughts on banning social media at genealogy conferences? What about the lack of a clear social media policy?
  • Do you think that conferences benefit from the increased exposure if they allow social media use during sessions?
  • Why do you think some presenters won’t allow the use of social media during their sessions? Disruptive to other participants? Fear of having presentation content copied?

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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37 thoughts on “Open Thread Thursday: Tweeting and Blogging at Genealogy Conferences

  1. * If you did not attend #fgs10 last week, did you follow along via blog posts and/or tweets on Twitter?

    I did not attend FGS last week but did follow posts on the blogs I subscribe to. I was on the edge of my seat with Amy Coffin’s posts because she wrote them in parts so I had to “tune in” the next day to find out what happened. Other blogs I read really made me wish I could have been there for the educational experience and networking.

    * Do you think that conferences benefit from the increased exposure if they allow social media use during sessions?

    I think conferences would benefit from increased exposure. There are many beginning genealogists out here and transitional, like myself, who are just now considering attending larger events like FGS. Knowing more about what happens, who the speakers are, what the attendants think of the speakers, what else goes on that you do not find on a conference website is important. Following what a genealogical blogger is doing each day and being able to comment on their posts and ask questions encourages those not attending to consider such things and educates those not attending.

    * Why do you think some presenters won’t allow the use of social media during their sessions? Disruptive to other participants? Fear of having presentation content copied?

    I think social media is so new that perhaps they are just unaware or uncomfortable with incorporating that into their presentations. Perhaps they have “always done it that way” and see no reason to change. Perhaps they do not know all the benefits that could come of allowing social media during a presentation.

    On the other hand, if the presenter is aware of social media and the benefits, maybe they prefer not to listen to people typing through their whole presentation. Maybe they feel if people are blogging and tweeting, they are not fully paying attention. I think a shift needs to happen in the mindset of paying attention while writing notes versus typing notes/blogging, etc.

    And finally, having their work copied I’m sure is a concern. It is a concern for all of us who write for publications, make presentations, blog, you name it. But I think unless you can type really fast, how can you possibly steal all the content? I think the goal of most presenters is to have their audience walk away with the main points and ah-ha moments, but that doesn’t mean if they are blogging or tweeting that their entire presentation will be stolen.

  2. As someone who blogs and lectures, this topic interests me. I think that if someone attends a lecture, they can blog about what they learned after the lecture. Unless given with permission, handouts and materials such as the syllabus should only be touched on in blogs and tweets, not violating the speakers copyrights. I have seen blogs that were almost the lecture in itself, is this right?

    While there may be some that can tweet and blog during a class/lecture, for most people it would seem to take away from their learning experience. Those people sitting by them could get distracted. I feel the blogging and tweeting should be done after the meeting not during. I learn and enjoy reading the blogs and tweets when I cannot attend, but for those events that require payment, is it fair to do a play by play to those who have not paid? these are questions that need to be address.

    I agree policies need to be in place. If a speaker does not mind their materials being used and if the class is an informal one, then the tweets and bloggers should be able to let their readers benefit.

    Does it matter if the class is a free one vs a paid one? I am still in process of trying to figure out my feelings on this one as I want to read the blogs on events, but do I want my material out there as I am presenting? Definitely something to ponder…..

  3. I haven’t attended a conference but I do follow along with blog posts of those who do. As a speaker (on non-genealogy topics) I think it is rude to be doing something else such as talking, using your cell phone or computer during a presentation. Tweeting or blogging about it afterward would be fine – if I’m not at the conference what difference does it make if I get my information and hour or even a day later?

  4. Here are the questions I had in Knoxville. A social media policy in place would have addressed many of them.

    You say I can’t use Twitter? Why only Twitter? Does that mean I can use Facebook during a session? Can I reply to a text from my son, or do I have to keep him waiting for an answer? May I jot down notes using my phone?

    You said nothing about using a computer. May I use my netbook during a session? I know you think it’s rude, but due to a hand condition, I prefer to type my notes. Why is this less acceptable than paper and pencil?

    Lack of a social media policy and negative attitudes toward use of technology in learning are affecting the types of conferences I attend and groups to which I give financial support. How come conferences for professional researchers (academic and library) accept social media in learning yet genealogy often doesn’t? This is normal everywhere else, why not in this field?

    Social media is here. It’s been here for a while. Accept it, invest some time to understand its uses, then harness that information to benefit the genealogy field.

    The Southern California Genealogical Society has a great social media policy and they publish it in their annual Jamboree program. Look at all the marketing they got this year. Rampant plagiarism did not occur from use of social media at the conference and people are already talking about Jamboree 2011.

    I use social media for my professional genealogy business, networking and my own personal research. It benefits me greatly and I will continue to use it as I see fit. I don’t ask that others join me, I merely request that you allow me to learn in a way that suits me best.

  5. Thomas,

    Great Questions:

    * If you did not attend #fgs10 last week, did you follow along via blog posts and/or tweets on Twitter?

    I did not attend #fgs10, but I did follow the Tweets and have read the Blogs of those who have posted comments about the conference.

    * Do you think that conferences benefit from the increased exposure if they allow social media use during sessions?

    As with several Genealogy Conferences, I would hope that there not be a policy, but an open invitation to use any Social Media that are available to us. Reason: (at least for me) I am on a limited budget and am not usually able to attend a Genealogy Conference. But I learn from what IS available through Social Media. In fact, because of Social Media, I have been encouraged to Blog about Family History. I have also made several connections, two cousins in fact, using Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging.

    The Social Media options, like twitter, gives me a way to determine which conference I would attend if I am able. I would be more inclined to attend a conference where there was not a “no twitter’ policy or restriction enforced at the Event.

    I have done presentations at local Family History group meetings, but I would not mind someone using a Social Media application during the presentation. I would be inclined to review what was said in order to evaluated my presentation. I would think that comments made, live, would be very helpful. I would be able to see if the points in my presentation, made it into that feedback. If I missed a point, I would be able to update the presentation.

    * Why do you think some presenters won’t allow the use of social media during their sessions? Disruptive to other participants? Fear of having presentation content copied?

    Not sure I know that answer to that. It might be a distraction for those sitting near someone using Social Media.

    My question would be, about the coping of the content, Isn’t much of the presentation in the Conference Material or handouts?

    Thank you,

    Russ

  6. I am still just blown away by this. Do people really not get that free advertising is good? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. When people blog about or tweet about your lecture, that’s called “free advertising.” Free. Advertising. What’s hard about that?

    I saw a discussion a while back on one of the listservs about how people have to get a landline, business phone line, so that they can be listed in the Yellow Pages. That’s where many genealogists are right now—they’re back in the days when people picked a service provider out of the Yellow Pages. They think that the way you determine whether a business is legitimate is by looking them up in the Yellow Pages (clue: there isn’t even just one Yellow Pages anymore. There are dozens of companies printing them. You can get your cellphone listed in one if you want to. You can get your completely scam-a-licious company listed. But that’s where many genealogists are still working–in the days of the Yellow Pages.)

    I get that some people don’t like Twitter. I totally get that it’s annoying to look out and see people on their phones when you’re talking (although, inexplicably, seeing them write notes is okay). But I don’t get why people think that turning down free advertising is a good thing. It especially blows my mind that this was going on at a conference that has content geared at professionals, because I would never take business advice from somebody who didn’t understand how businesses advertise in 2010.

    There’s a reason everybody from the phone company to your local pizza joint has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog. It’s because of (say it with me now) FREE ADVERTISING.

    And the copyright thing kills me. They sell tapes (or probably CDs, by now, although tapes wouldn’t surprise me) of these lectures. If you wanted to “steal someone’s content,” you could do it way more efficiently by buying the CD. Additionally, people in other fields who get six figures for a lecture and have real live reporters writing detailed articles about the content never complain about this. That’s because they know and like FREE ADVERTISING. It’s not the content that people hire you for–it’s to have you stand there and deliver it. Even if your lecture is printed verbatim, people still have to hire you, or else they won’t have anyone to stand up their and talk at their conference. This is not that hard.

    It boggles me that this is an issue. It really does.

  7. I attended FGS and saw Twitter in action for really the first time. I had a Twitter account but before I went to Knoxville, I would have said that it’s a good source for news and not much else.

    I was so wrong – mainly because I was seriously uneducated on the subject. I have a completely different prespective today thanks to the group of Twittering (or is it Tweeting) GeneaBloggers. I sat with several of them during sessions and can’t say that I ever noticed any distracting behavior from a single one of them. I was, however, often distracted by the people around me who fell asleep and snored or rattled around in their tote bags or engaged in a variety of other inappropriate activities.

    I first became interested in attending a national conference from reading blogs about the experience over the past couple of years. I’ve never read a review by anyone who wished they hadn’t gone to a conference so this type of free publicity should be something conferences encourage – or go after full force. FGS had a record number of 1st timers in Knoxville (so many that they ran out of ribbons). I’d bet a good many of them learned about FGS from blogs, Facebook or Twitter.

    The issue of fearing copyright infringement seems a little ridiculous to me. After all, speakers provide a typed syllabus for their presentation. It would be much easier for someone to copy that and use it for their own purposes than it would to tweet out every point of a presentation. If conferences are seriously concerned about this issue they should include sessions to educate people about using social media without violating copyrights.

    This whole issue reminds me of a conversation I had a few years ago about the need for a website and email address for a small county society. I was told “most of our members are old and don’t use computers.” Seriously.

  8. I was not able to attend FGS in Knoxville last week but I did read blogs of those who did (and I still am since I am a wee bit behind in my blog reading due to school starting). I look forward to reading about everyone’s experiences and am even using some of the reviews of lectures to help me pick out which ones I will order on CD. So, the FREE ADVERTISING that Kerry was talking about in her comment will pay off for some of the lecturers!

    In answer to Thomas’s question number three – “Do you think that conferences benefit from the increased exposure if they allow social media use during sessions?” You bet I do. I am already scheming to figure out a way to attend Jamboree, FGS or NGS next year because I am reading other peoples’ experiences from their own unique perspectives. I can see from not only my conference experiences but those of many others that attending conferences if a REALLY GOOD thing!

    As far as why I “think some presenters won’t allow the use of social media during their sessions? Disruptive to other participants? Fear of having presentation content copied?” Probably some of both. My comment here is what’s the difference between taking notes with your laptop (which I have found to be very efficient and helpful) and blogging? Both are just as disruptive. Today using laptops in college classrooms (and even in some high schools) is VERY commonplace. Just ask my college student!

    As far as tweeting goes, I wish I could comment on that but I haven’t delved into that area just yet :)

  9. I was not at FGS10, but followed the activities on the blogs and via Twitter (doing my homework assignment for 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy).

    Social Media is here to stay, so people need to accept that fact.

    My first major genealogy conference was the FH Expo in Kansas City in July and I applaud them for their social media policy. They welcomed the tweeters and the bloggers and we even had our own table in the vendor room where we could hang out with one another AND talk about blogging with conference attendees who had never heard of a blog before.

    In sessions that had tables, I did all of my note taking on my net book. I hated it when I had to resort to pen and paper, as I can type nearly as fast as the speaker talks, so my conference notes are much more coherent for later reference. I also loved that when a presenter mentioned a website, I could go to that site and bookmark it on the spot and actually evaluate what the site had to offer.

    I also recognized that my note taking on the computer might annoy some people, so I always tried to get a side seat, out of the way, so people wouldn’t be bothered. But for a fast typist, using the net book in the session is a dream come true. I’m using my notes for my own education only; I’m not going to reproduce someone else’s content.

    I make presentations for my day-job and as a speaker, I am less bothered by social media than by the people who talk to one another or talk on the phone all during your presentation. I’ve only had one person fall asleep in all these years, but that’s not a very good evaluation of a presentation!

    Let’s get beyond being old fogies and go with the tools that are available to us. Social media is here and it’s not going away. I’m still not enamored with Twitter, but I use it and I definitely kept up with Thomas and Amy’s exploits in Knoxville last week!

    Really, it was because of the blogs and Facebook posts from the California Jamboree that made me go to the Expo in Kansas City. Social media is a great way to plug your conference. Look at all of the work that Paula did on the blog MONTHS before FGS. I kept thinking that if I were attending, I would know everything ahead of time. Her blog posts were very informative. That was the way to do it right.

    And for those who can’t attend, we can live vicariously through the tweets and blog posts and the pictures from those who are there. We can’t wait to see the pictures!

    Even though I’m using Twitter reluctantly at this point, don’t be surprised if I wind up with a smartphone next upgrade.

    After all this rambling, in conclusion:

    1. Social Media is here to stay
    2. Social Media makes good sense for promotion and education.
    3. Social Media must be an integral part of any type of professional conference.

  10. I already wrote a blog post echoing Kerry’s statements about free advertising after attending the APG PMC, which did not allow Tweeting or blogging from its sessions. I want to answer a couple more points here.

    My day job is at an engineering school — the norm, not the exception — for students these days is to bring their laptops to class and to use them to take notes and even participate in class through interactive polls and pop quizzes. By banning the use of phones and computers at our conferences, we’re dissuading the next generation of genealogists from participating in our events and our profession.

    You wouldn’t hand an abacus and a T-square to an engineer today and tell them to go build a bridge. Why would you handicap today’s genealogists in a similar fashion?

    Thanks, Thomas, for facilitating this discussion, and thanks everyone else for their thoughtful comments!

  11. Wow. What are the Yellow Pages? Just kidding. I use mine to prop up decorative stuff that’s too small to be seen over the crown moulding on top of my cabinets. Then I recycle the rest. I look everything up on the internet. And the bonus? I can find it faster, AND I don’t get ink on my fingers.

    I did not attend FGS2010, but my intention is for 2011 to be my break-out year for conferences. [I've already warned my husband.] By then, I will have my iPhone and together with my netbook will be fully-outfitted for, hm, well, it looks like the SoCal Jamboree and FHExpos. However, I do plan to attend national conferences as I think they are necessary for a variety of purposes. I guess I’ll have to hope that the conference organizers get over their social media phobias. As my husband pretty much suffers from this same social media affliction and he doesn’t have anything ~a-ny-thing~ to do with genealogy, I can safely say that it exists elsewhere other than the genea-world. However, I do find it ironic that my husband’s 89yo World War II vet Great-Uncle Donald is online, has wi-fi, and is on Facebook. I wonder if social media has something to do with longevity? [Something to ponder later.]

    Anywho, if the organizers are not able to work through their problems with the advancement of technology, they’re still going to get my money, as I have acquired much patience in dealing with my husband’s phobia.

    And, Kerry? I. Love. You. No, really I do. My minor is in marketing, and you and I? Are so right there. FREE ADVERTISING.

    And, Amy? You know I love ya’, and I totally agree with you on the netbook/phone thing. We’re moms. We’re multi-taskers because we have to be. And, wow, when and if I am privileged enough some day to be a speaker/lecturer, may I not think so much of myself and my lecture that I think everything my attendees are doing is all about me. [To be perfectly honest, I'd be pleased as punch that someone paid good money to listen to me, as no one in my own house listens to me and I'm working for free. ;)] I mean, really, you can take notes any way you want to. Tattoos? Go for it.

    Oh, and I’d really like to meet the person ~the tweeter [You can call us twits, but for some reason, I don't like it.]~ who could tweet out a whole lecture. I mean, really? Seriously? Even IF you could find someone who could do that [and that's a BIG IF], they would soon have no followers. No one wants to follow a tweeter who is constantly tweeting. It’s an unspoken Twitter rule. And the speakers would know this if they were utilizing Twitter to promote their professional genealogy services. To the masses.

    Speaking of masses, I like to extend out beyond my genealogy comfort zone in social media to promote myself and my services. That’s right. I follow moms, antique dealers, college students, people who live near where I live, photographers, and the like and cultivate relationships with them. My theory is that they are all people who have families. And maybe they’d like to read my Family Stories blog. And maybe, just maybe, they’d be interested some day in their family’s history. Maybe enough to start searching for it. And maybe they might need some help. I don’t know. Maybe I’m crazy, but aren’t ALL people potential clients? Social media levels the playing field for small businesses, and the advancements in information technology allows a businessperson to simultaneously reach out to literally thousands of people across the world in an instant. And the cost? Not much. [See, Kerry? I get it.]

    Well, I guess that’s it. Oh, and I can’t wait to meet some, if not all of y’all at a conference. Maybe we can have a Tweet-up. Um. If it’s allowed.

    Seriously. Even Great-Uncle Donald uses social media.

    FREE ADVERTISING,
    ~Caroline

  12. Family History Expos LOVES social media!

    We have a social media policy in place at every Family History Expo. It protects the speakers’ hard work while still allowing attendees to get the word out to their friends and followers.

    We encourage the use of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs before, during and after the Expos. In fact, we love genealogy blogs so much that we name special Bloggers of Honor at each Expo. We also have a dedicated area called the Beacon of Bloggers in the exhibit hall for those who want to blog or ask questions of the bloggers.

    Our slogan at Family History Expos is “learn the tech to trace your roots.” We offer several social-media classes at Expos all over the U.S.

    Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and join us at an Expo! Bring your laptops, netbooks, smart phones, dumb phones and anything else that helps you with genealogy and allows you to share with others.

    (Amy–Social Media Coordinator at Family History Expos, Inc.)

  13. I’m a firm believer in open sharing of information. I’m looking forward to the day when I can participate in conferences from my desktop. The technology is there to make it happen, but the mindset with dead tree speakers prevents it. Genea-bloggers are becoming a delightfully disruptive force in the genealogy world and are pushing changes. I say keep up the good work! We’ll all benefit from it.

  14. Caroline—come Valentine’s Day, I’m going to get you a package of those conversations hearts (and I can tell you from experience that when you open them, you’ll find that some of them say “Tweet Me,” because even candy companies know this stuff is not going away.

    And I will probably attend a Family History Expo long before I attend the FGS conference, because I’ve been hearing SO much good stuff about them…on Twitter. My conference time/money is limited, and I’m going to invest it in people who GET IT.

    (Although…could they please GET IT in Milwaukee? Because I will buy cheese curds for everyone if they do!)

  15. In 1995 Jim and I began going to the local (Port Orchard, WA) genealogical society meetings on a monthly basis. Jim has never been as geeky as me, so keep that in mind as I relate my story. After one of the meetings I mentioned to one of the board members that I thought we should be able to opt in to include our email addresses in the newsletter. Her reaction? “That’s what phone books are for!”, and Jim was all agreeable with her. As we all adapt and adopt technology, if it isn’t disruptive, or doesn’t involve off topic behavior (like giggling, etc.), then I’m all for tweeting, texting and blogging. I wasn’t able to attend any conferences and yet I follow them all on Twitter and Facebook. Let’s not send in the jackbooted social networking police to slap the hands of serious genealogists, OK?

  16. I’m only going to address a couple of the questions:

    * If you did not attend #fgs10 last week, did you follow along via blog posts and/or tweets on Twitter?

    I did read blog posts about the conference from those whose blogs I already follow. Although I have a Twitter account, I’m not all that active there.

    * Why do you think some presenters won’t allow the use of social media during their sessions? Disruptive to other participants? Fear of having presentation content copied?

    Possibly both of these; possibly the presenter also finds it distracting, possibly the presenter just doesn’t know much about social media. Possibly they’ve heard some horror stories about Twitter backchannel disasters like what happened to danah boyd at the Web2.0 Expo in New York late last year.

  17. Kerry + Caroline – I think you and I could be great friends! I am in 1000% agreement with you two! FREE ADVERTISING.

    For me, Social Media comes natural. I come from the generation that is addicted to technology (I get the shakes if I don’t check my Facebook a minimum of 2 times a day – although I check my Facebook and email about 15 times a day on average).

    I LOVE social media. I love connecting with people. Sharing with people. Learning from people. Teaching people. It is such a great environment.

    I can understand how typing away can be distracting and I understand the need for a social media policy (seems we need the fine print for just about everything these days).

    But I really think that the pros highly outweigh the cons. I mean…FREE ADVERTISING – not just for the conference but for the speakers as well. It is such a great idea.

    I understand though that it takes time to change people who are stuck in their ways. I believe that a happy medium can be reached (if you don’t want to use social media, then don’t – and if you do want to, then do).

  18. Rock and Roll is just a phase.

    Having read all of the above comments, it would be silly of me to rehash (or is that retweet) all of the terrific comments expressed. But if anything bears repeating it would be that social media is a reality and FREE ADVERTISING.

    People who utilize social media are savvy and engaged – conferences, lectures, etc, will need to recognize that efforts to limit or control dissemination of information will not be view favorably by the people they hope to attract to their venue.

    Earlier this year I attended a NCAA DIII basketball tournament where, during the championship game, my son was told to put away his Nikon D50 (digital SLR). He was told that his photograph’s could be in competition with photographers with press passes. What the NCAA failed to realize was during the final 2 minutes of the game, hundreds of attendees were shooting video with their cell phones and within minutes of the final buzzer, were uploaded to Youtube.

    In addition to embracing social media, there needs to be a better understanding of how we all can benefit.

  19. Tweeting and blogging could be considered a new form of press coverage. I think the only reason people find laptops and smart phones disruptive and/or distracting is that they’re unfamiliar with the technology. Are the sounds of scribbling pens and turning pages a distraction? Should press coverage be discouraged? Let’s talk about the geezer sitting in front of me at last week’s FGS conference who answered his ringing cell phone from his seat in the middle of a session. Talk about disruptive, distracting, and disrespectful . . .

  20. A great topic, Thomas!

    As a journalist first and blogger second, I see no difference between press coverage, blogging and tweeting. It is all free publicity for the event.

    While I do attend many conferences, some I just can’t get to due to distance, so yes, I did read the FGS blogposts and tweets to stay in touch.

    While I think that there should be limits on posting a presenter’s complete program, how can tweets hurt due to their limited character count? Who has time to tweet every sentence of a particular program?

    I’ve also experienced the ringing cellphone and people who couldn’t find their phone to turn it off. One one occasion, it was my own phone, so I apologize to everythere there.

    Media policies need to be carefully crafted. Publicity for that event (and future editions) is generated by tweets and blogposts and encourages people to attend those events in the future. All conferences benefit from the increased exposure.

    As a journalist and a blogger, I don’t see the difference. More people interested in genealogy will read Tracing the Tribe’s blogposts than an article in a local paper written by someone who doesn’t know the first thing about genealogy and may well get it mostly wrong!

    I barely have time for blogging from a conference and rarely write separate tweets, but my blogposts are linked to and automatically appear on both Facebook and Twitter.

    If a presenter has given permission for the event to record a lecture, they cannot complain about journalists and bloggers/tweeters. Those who do not give recording permission are fearful of unique presentations being copied, I believe, and that may be a legitimate reason.

    I was strongly reprimanded by one person at a recent conference about the fact that my fast typing on my little netbook was disturbing her.

    Perhaps conferences should set aside a section in presentation rooms for journalists and bloggers (with electrical outlets!) where we won’t disturb each other typing away.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone at NGS, Jamboree, IAJGS and many others.

    Schelly Talalay Dardashti
    Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog
    http://tracingthetribe.blogspot.com

  21. The event should view social media as free advertising.
    But I believe blogging and tweeting should not be done during a presentation as it can appear rude…like talking on a cell phone. Just my opinion.

  22. I agree with Schelly about having a separate area (with electrical outlets, ideally) for the folks who are typing. My hearing isn’t great to begin with, so even the smallest noise makes it harder for me to hear.

    I also think that those of us who are strong advocates for the benefits of social media in the genealogical community need to be especially careful to be polite and considerate of others. We’ve all had that accidental (and mortifying) ringing-phone incident at least once, but in general, we have to make sure we’re not adding to the perception that we’re being rude (although I still don’t get how blogging is rude, but taking notes isn’t. How can you even tell the difference?).

  23. Seems like I came late to this party, but I’m glad I made it. It’s gratifying to hear all of the positive comments about Jamboree and SCGS’s social media policy. Thanks for the kind words.

    In developing our social media policy, the Board of Directors attempted to address the concerns of all of the parties — speakers, Jamboree attendees, and the various social media audiences. I hope that we succeeded.

    Since our first Blogger Summit in 2008, Jamboree has had a strong, positive partnership with bloggers and other users of social media. We enjoyed highlighting the new form of communication, when most of the notable bloggers could all be seated at a panel table. And it goes without saying that the bloggers and Facebookers and podcasters and tweeters have been invaluable in Jamboree’s growth.

    In our 2010 satisfaction survey, only one respondent commented about being distracted by clicking noises of keyboards. With over 500 responses to our post-Jamboree survey, I’d say that was pretty good.

    That said, I do like the idea of having Tweeters and Facebookers seated at the side or rear of a lecture room.

    I did not go to #FGS10 and I was disappointed that there wasn’t more information coming out of the conference. I was hoping to live vicariously through the experiences of others. Next time, maybe.

    Thanks for a great topic.

  24. I just returned home from the Salt Lake Family History Expo this morning and as the president of Family History Expos I want to add my personal insights and the benefits of social media as I see it.

    I feel the greatest benefit for using social media is to the individual researcher!

    Individuals are connecting with ideas that they have not considered before. Social media opens avenues of communication to people who have no idea that there is help out there.

    My greatest thrill is to see the “Light” turn on for others. It is gratifying to help newbies connect with the right sources, people, technology, and techniques that help them to successfully locate, document, and share their family tree. Not everyone can afford to get to a large event. Social media is an awesome tool that facilitates the learning process and inspires individuals to the benefit of gathering with like minded people.

    Bloggers, tweeters, and other social media users are discovering their family history on a daily basis and they are sharing it with the world instantly. It is exciting to see this open sharing attitude and it is more exciting to see the collaboration that is taking place. I have met many wonderful, helpful, insightful, and knowledge seeking individuals who delight in teaching others.

    Personally, I love social media and use it every day. I’m thrilled at all the wonderful friends and acquaintances I have made through this medium. My life is better for it and I believe others have benefit as well.

    One last thought about Tweeting and Facebooking from the Expos: We work hard to pull together some of the best genealogy and family history programs possible. As the promoter I rarely get to attend classes! Can you believe that!?? (Yes, Paula I know you can ;-) ) I love Twitter and Facebook most because while I am busy in the exhibit hall, at the registration booth, solving tech problems, or just visiting with attendees I can hear that little “bling” from the cell phone in my pocket. That little “bling” tells me that someone is connecting with the Expo and connecting with others to share the info that just may propel them forward in their research and I can’t wait to read all about it! I don’t have to wait until I get home to read the evaluation cards to fine out how we did. I am learning what is working and what’s not in real time. When I hear that “bling” I smile and know that yes, we are making a difference.

    Thank you genealogy bloggers, tweeters, and social media nuts! You make my world better! I love to learn and I love to share.

    For me, instant gratification is not quick enough! But we’re getting close!

  25. I wonder if the speakers at FGS would have refused if someone from the New York Times or Washington Post wanted to report on how wonderful their lecture was.

  26. I did attend the FGS conference in Knoxville.

    I have to say that, really and truly, no one can ban anyone from tweeting or blogging about a presentation, provided the tweeter or blogger does not violate any copyright laws. This would be a violation of free speech, which is protected by the Constitution. That’s why I was baffled that presenters stated this ban on blogging/tweeting. To me, it’s just a silly request that doesn’t make much sense. To be honest, the only presentation that I attended that did request no blogging/tweeting was probably the worst one I attended, so maybe that explains it. She didn’t want anyone stating anything bad about her less than exciting presentation.

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