Monday, October 28, 2013

Are You Using Social Media for Genealogy?

"Social Media" is defined by Wikipedia as "Social media refers to the means of interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks."

A neat "Conversatons in Social Media" infographic appeared on the Infographicality website back in March 2013:

[Hat tip to the In-Depth Genealogist post "Social Media and Genealogy:  It's Not Just About Chats With Friends Anymore" by Shannon Combs Bennett]

There are about 200 different social media outlets listed.

When I saw this, my reaction was "Wow, I'm way behind the times!"  I wondered how many of these social media outlets I use.  Here's my list:

*  Social bookmarks - I use none of those listed.
*  Question and Answer sites - none of those listed.   Where's WolframAlpha?
*  Live Casting and LifeStreams - I use none of those listed.  Where's Google+ Hangouts?
*  Social Shopping/Social Commerce - I use none of those listed.  
*  Crowdsourced content - I use none of those listed.  I have done FamilySearch Indexing, does that count?
*  Collaboration - I  use Google News and Google.  I looked  at Mindmeister once and was confused.
*  Blog Platforms - I haven't used the ones shown.  Where's Blogger?  That's what I use!
*  Blog Search - I use none of those listed.
*  Blog Communities - I use none of those listed.  I use Geneabloggers, Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities for genealogy.
*  Micromedia - I use Twitter!  Finally something I can relate to!
*  Twitter Ecosystem - I have used Tweetdeck a few times.
*  Location Based Services - I use none of those listed.  Where's Google Maps?  I've used that!
*  Social Networks - I use none of those listed, except for Facebook.
*  Forums - I use none of those listed.  I use Rootsweb message boards and mailing lists for genealogy.
*  SMS/Voice, Instant Messaging - none of those listed.  I do send a few messages on my iPhone, and used Microsoft Windows Live messaging for awhile for genealogy.
*  Interest and Curated Networks - none of those listed except for LinkedIn, which I don't use much.  I used Google Reader, and now Feedly for genealogy blog reading, which is an interest network of mine.
*  Reputation - I use none of those listed.
*  Location - I use none of those listed except for Google Maps.
*  Video - I watch YouTube often, LegacyFamilyTree webinars often, FamilySearch Research Courses often, and Vimeo occasionally, but don't create video content.
*  Documents/Content - I have used Scribd, SlideShare and Issuu occasionally. 
*  Gaming - I don't do this.
*  Music - I use iTunes occasionally, and used in the past.
*  Wikis - none of those listed except for Wikipedia.  I use WikiTree, WeRelate and FamilySearch Family Tree for genealogy family trees, and the FamilySearch Research Wiki and Family History Wiki for genealogy knowledge.
*  Pictures - I use Flickr occasionally, and used Picasa in the past, and 1000Memories before it was crushed by
*  Reviews/Ratings - none of those listed.

The list doesn't even include Email!  I think it should - it's computer related and social in nature.

Are genealogical societies, teaching classes and making genealogy presentations social media?  I think they are, perhaps in the Networks category.

So, out of the 25 categories above, I use about 10 on a routine basis for genealogy purposes, and have used another 8 occasionally or in the past.  Out of the approximately 200 social media outlets listed, I use maybe 20 of them.

The top 10 social media outlets I use on a regular basis for genealogy are (with approximate estimated time shares):

1.  Blogger - for blog writing on a daily basis (about 120 minutes per day)
2.  Feedly - for blog reading on a daily basis (about 60 minutes per day)
3.  Facebook - for blog promotion and family interaction on a daily basis (about 20 minutes per day)
4.  Google+ - for daily blog promotion and occasional Hangouts (average 20 minutes per day)
5.  Video - for regular but not daily genealogy porn education (about 20 minutes per day)
6.  Google - for daily research and education (15 minutes per day)
7.  Twitter - for daily blog promotion (about 5 minutes per day)
8.  Forums - for occasional research and education (about 5 minutes a day)
9.  Wikis - for occasional research and education (about 5 minutes a day)
10.  Google Maps - for occasional information and education (about 5 minutes per day)

Email adds at least another 30 minutes every day.  Genealogical society meetings, teaching classes and making presentations average out at least 20 minutes a day over a month's time.

That adds up to 325 minutes per day using social media!  Over 5 hours!  No wonder I'm not getting any research done...

My question now is "What should I give up for more research time?"  The obvious answer is blog writing and blog reading, or try to cut back on it.

The next question for me is "Do I want to cut back?"  Right now, the answer is NO, because I'm having a great time doing everything I do.

I do almost all of that on my desktop computer, and on the laptop computer when I'm away from home.  I do very little on my iPhone or tablet other than check email, Feedly and Facebook when I'm away from home.

What about you?  How many hours a day do you spend on social media?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Megthered said...

I am very much in the minority here. I have never sent a Twitter message, don't have any Apple products, so I have no use for Itunes, I don't have a Facebook account, though I have looked at my childrens Facebook areas.I am very much not into social media. I am going to have to read up on it and maybe I will get into the 21st century

Fiona Tellesson said...

I use social media, but not all of it. Just what suits me and my needs. All up I spend too long...truly I don't want to tell you the total number of would wonder if I sleep...clearly I'm off to catch some zzzzz's

I luv genealogy and if this is what I have to do to connect then there is no argument I will do it. Cheers!

Diane Gould Hall said...

I've just spent an hour this morning reading the news, checking my emails & responding, checking Facebook notifications and posts and responding and looking at my blog page. All of it done on my iPad, since I'm out of town. I do all my research on my desktop at home. I also generally use the desktop to write my blog posts.
I know I spend too much time on Facebook and need to cut back a bit. And, now that I'm blogging regularly, more time is spent there. All in all leaving less research time.
I enjoyed this post Randy.
Please visit my blog at
See you soon,
Diane aka Michigan Girl

Jennifer Shoer said...

Until about a year ago, I spent about an hour or two a day on social media. I then cut way back to less than a couple of hours a week so that I could focus more on developing my genealogy business.

After some recent soul searching I discovered that I have missed the level of interaction I had before. There is much to be gained from talking with and learning from others also interested in genealogy. Another big revelation to me is that I like to know what is going on in the greater gen world and that it directly benefits my research goals.

Great article, Randy!

Unknown said...

Do you have a list of the social media that is on the graphic above? I find that it's too small to read, and when I made it larger, it was too blurry to read them. I would love to check some of these out!! Thank you!!

Unknown said...

Do you have a list of the social media that is on the graphic above? I find that it's too small to read, and when I made it larger, it was too blurry to read them. I would love to check some of these out!! Thank you!!