Monday, July 20, 2009

We're Related passes 50 Million Milestone, but ...

Have you read the press release from today concerning their We're Related application on Facebook? If not, Leland Meitzler has it in his post Surpassing 50 Million Users "We're Related" Proves Families are Popular on Facebook.

The basic claim is that there were 50 million Facebook members that have used the We're Related application, and they have posted over 300 million persons to the application. This is up from 15 million members back in January 2009.

I have written several times about We're Related, and none of it has been positive. My main complaint has been about the lack of a GEDCOM upload - at least they don't claim that "it's almost ready" anymore (like they did for over one year)!

I've tried to give it a good try, to the extent of loading by hand, one person at a time, back to my eight great-grandparents and my siblings and children. Plus some thumbnail images. has added more to the We're Related platform on Facebook, and I thought that I would show them to you, since nobody else has (not even We're Related)! Here is the opening screen when you manage to find the We're Related application (check your Applications icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Facebook screen):

There are four tabs on the top menu (with the green background) - Family Stream, Find Relatives, Add Relatives and My Trees.

The "Family Stream" screen above shows the Facebook Updates of myself and My Relatives (all four of them). There are four tabs on the "Family Stream" page - for Add Update, Add Photos, Add Link and Add Favorite.

I clicked on the "Add Photos" link and added several photographs:

That was pretty easy, although it took up to 60 seconds to upload a 500 kb photograph.

Here is the "My Trees" screen after clicking on the link from the top menu on the first screen above:

You can see that I've added birth and death dates and places, and thumbnail pictures, to my direct family line. Doing the ten additional people a few weeks ago took over one hour.

Despite all of the publicity that puts out, my opinion is still that this Facebook application is worthless to genealogists and to persons trying to connect to distant cousins. My reasons for saying this include:

* It is v-e-r-y- S---L---O---W to use. I get frustrated by slow...

* The site has no way to navigate to siblings or children - I added my children and siblings, but cannot see their information.

There is no GEDCOM upload capability - without this it is difficult to find any relative past great-grandparents.

* I don't know if I can see the Tree or Photos of My Relatives. I have only four "Relatives" in my "Family Stream, and they have, apparently, not added a Family Tree or photos to their We're Related page. If they have, then I cannot see their Tree or their photos. I could add more "Relatives" from my Facebook Friends, but I don't want to put them through the agony of trying to use this application.

* We're Related has added another feature - the user can add a Family Pet to their We're Related page. How dumb is that? What's next - best friends? Cars?

* I could find no way to search for persons in other Facebook users' Trees - I think that that would be one way to lead me to relatives so I could share information.

* The recent announcement says "With features like photo sharing along with ability to communicate, organize communication, and keep everything private to a desired list of family members, We're Related makes perfect sense for keeping family together and learning about loved ones." This apparently refers to the Family Stream items, including photos.

Am I missing something? Is my problem here that I don't have enough relatives that have added photos and trees? If so, then would some Facebook Friend please invite me to be their Relative so I can see their Family Stream and Tree items?

As I've pointed out before, the 50 million We're Related users and the 300 million persons in Family Trees works out to about 6 persons per tree. That is not very many, and is probably indicative of the difficulty in using the We're Related application on Facebook. My guess is that 90% of the We're Related users use it once and give up on it. Others, like me, keep coming back in hopes that it has improved capabilities.

Previous Genea-Musings posts on We're Related application can be found here.

1 comment:

Ginger Smith said...

Randy, I agree that this application is useless. I tried to use the "family stream" which is supposed to show you all of the news feed from all of your relatives, but I don't think it works properly because I see things my cousin posts to his facebook in my regular news feed, but not in my "family stream."

Because I have over 300 friends now, I added each person to a category including "family." Now all I have to do is select "family" from the left side of my home page to see the news feeds of just my family members. It works best for me!

Oh yeah and my family and I use to stay in touch and to add to our trees!