Saturday, June 4, 2011

Connecting the Dots with Social Networking

The internet has certainly changed the way we research and share information about ourselves and our families. With hundreds of genealogical resources located online, how often do we consider social networking sites, like Facebook to be among those resources?

For me, it all started with a peculiar friend request and an invitation to join a Facebook group called “Pulsiphers Unite.” I did not know the man who had invited me, but he introduced himself with his lineage and we quickly found that we were both descendants of Zerah Pulsipher. I joined the group, and was able to exchange some info with others in the group, meeting more of my distant cousins.

As many groups do, the group began to go inactive, but I was soon added to a new group, called “Our Pulsipher Roots.” This group is still growing. Through this site I was able to see more pictures of my own ancestors and their families, as well as read about the efforts of other Pulsipher research that was going on.

By creating groups and “pages” on Facebook, anyone can help connect their family and learn more about the past. Both types of pages allow individuals to share images, links, and other postings, as well as ask questions and have other Facebook users respond.

With Facebook usership increasing among more the more mature members of our families, the odds that you will be able to find a gem by participating in family pages is increasing. But don’t overlook all of your cousins, second cousins and so on. They will likely have stories and photos that you do not. This is truly a family effort, and everyone should be welcome to participate.

Begin by creating a group or a page that people can “like.” In order to boost interest, you may consider adding a few photos or other items, of your own. Next, send it out to all of your relatives. You can do this by sharing the link on your own wall, by inviting people (if it’s a group) or by posting the link on the walls or in messages to different family members. Encourage them to share the page with others who may not be on your friend list, and encourage them to begin posting stories, links and images while participating in the comments area of different posts.

Remember, this should be fun and non-threatening. The goal is to come closer as a family and learn more about the past.

If you do not yet have a Facebook account, but would like to get one, visit:

http://www.facebook.com

You will need an e-mail address to register. Also, as you probably noticed, this is not a step by step guide on how to create a group or page on Facebook. If you are new to Facebook, it may take some time before you are able to navigate your way around (or if you are just slow in getting used to a new layout every few months, like me), however, take comfort in the fact that you probably know someone who can help you get started, and that by running an internet search of any Facebook related question will lead to answers.

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