Have you wanted to find other genealogists who share your enthusiasm for genealogy? Social media is a great way to connect with other genealogists whether they are close to home or live half way across the country or the world. If you're new to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it can be a little overwhelming to dive right in. Don't let that stop you from joining the online genealogy conversation.
Here are three ways you can ease into social media and connect with others. These three methods all involve interacting with content that other people have posted. The first step in getting involved is to show other people that you've connected with what they've shared.
3 Ways to Ease into Social Media to Connect with Other Genealogists
Liking is the easiest way to engage with a social media post. Depending on the platform, liking consists of clicking on an icon showing a thumbs-up, heart, or another image. This indicates that you agree with the post's message. Liking only takes a second. The drawback is that if someone wants to see the names of everyone who liked the message, they need to hover their mouse over the icon to see the names of those who engaged with the post.
The other drawback of liking is that you don't know why the person "liked" or engaged with the post. It could have been in support of the poster. It may have nothing to do with whether they agree or know the information is accurate. However, it is a good, fast way to show support.
Commenting on a post is one way to engage with the poster and its audience. As genealogists, we read social media posts that include news, methodology questions, and events. Commenting can lend support to the person posting or sharing information. So, for example, a comment can show our support to people when they are celebrating an accomplishment.
Commenting allows us to crowdsource problems. Some genealogy groups are precisely for that purpose. For example, if you're a member of the Legacy Family Tree group, you can learn the latest and ask questions about using Legacy Family Tree. A staff member or another Legacy user will answer your question.
Replying to a comment on social media provides the opportunity to type or like a previous comment, as in this example from Facebook.
My one caution about commenting is to remember that an online conversation differs from one done face-to-face. In person, I can get clues from your body language, facial expressions, and tone that you are joking or being sarcastic. It's more difficult to judge that from a typed message. Remember that commenting doesn't allow for nuances, so keeping remarks straight and to the point is best. Keep in mind that some Facebook groups have community guidelines that must be adhered to.
On Twitter, reposting is called Retweeting. On Facebook, it's called Sharing. Simply, reposting is when you share what someone else has posted. Reposting shows the original post, and you can add information at the top. In this example from Facebook, I shared a post from Legacy to my News Feed and added some info.
Reposting is perfect for adding to the conversation by providing more information, agreeing to the post, sharing to benefit others, or supporting the poster.
Social Media is a Conversation
Stop using social media as a passive news source and start engaging. Its time for you to interact with other genealogists. I use social media to share information that will benefit others, promote my presentations and blog posts, and support the genealogy community. Social media is where we can gather, so don't scroll by, add your expertise.