Last month, Paul B. Allen, the CEO of FamilyLink.com advertised on Twitter for "Twitter interns" who would take jobs at FamilyLink.com and promote FamilyLink.com products.
From what I can tell, several of them are working hard at promoting FamilyLink.com products on Twitter and Facebook.
There are Twitter entities for users named genseek, worldhistory, and FamilyLink, and all of them are active commenting on genealogy-related activities.
The genseek entity seems to be very active on Twitter - here is a screen shot of their posts:
Genseek on Twitter has posted (as of right now) 86 updates, has 1,531 followers and is following 1,904 other twitterers. What is impressive is that genseek has gained so many followers so quickly, since their first tweet is dated April 27th - less than four weeks!
Note the top tweet above - it links to five surname posts somewhere - we'll find out where shortly!
On Facebook, there are Pages for Genealogy and Family History (with a home page of http://www.genseek.com/) and World History (with a home page of http://www.worldhistory.com/). Here are the Facebook pages for these three entities:
On these pages, the owners are highlighting web pages and blog posts that pertain to the interests of the Facebook pages. These Facebook entities were created in just the last month or so, and currently have 6,234 (Genseek), 4,019(Family History) and 589 (World History) fans on Facebook. These fan numbers are pretty impressive to me - they greatly exceed the number of fans of my Genea-Musings page (only 104 followers) and the number of Facebook Friends I have (441 at last count). Where did they all come from? The answer is, I think, probably "from the We're Related" application user base that is on Facebook.
From the above, it looks to me like FamilyLink has found a way to bring some of the millions of We're Related users into the genealogy community - a social network - on Facebook. By exposing these "We're Related" users to the genea-bloggers community on the Genealogy and Family History Facebook Pages, they are exposing them to the existing base of genealogy industry people and to the genea-blogger work product, which I really appreciate!
Now, what about the Twitter page shown above with links to Davis, Garcia, Miller, Rodriguez and Wilson? Well, the links go to Facebook, where the FamilyLink.com people created Pages for these surnames in hopes that Twitter readers and We're Related users will participate on these Pages. Yesterday, they created Pages for Smith, Jones, Brown, Williams and Johnson. Here is the Smith Family History page:
How is the above Smith Family History Page any different from a message board or a mailing list or a Smith Family web page? The main difference is the interactivity allowed on Facebook - any fan of the page can create a post, upload a story or a photograph, comment on someone else's post, etc. It's all in one place. It's a community - a social network - where people can share information about their surname and family.
Most importantly, the use of Twitter and Facebook appeals to persons who are not yet invested in, or perhaps even aware of, the more traditional genealogy world of repositories, books, periodicals, indexes, databases, static web pages, etc.. The future of genealogy is with younger people - those who are technology savvy and who can grow to be the genealogy researchers, bloggers, writers, software developers and business entrepreneurs of tomorrow, Many of them are enthusiastically using Twitter and Facebook now.
Using Twitter and Facebook to generate interest and enthusiasm for http://www.genseek.com/ before it is officially launched is a wise business move by FamilyLink.com. The challenge for FamilyLink.com is to make the reality of www.Genseek.com exceed the expectations of the potential Genseek user base.