Thursday, June 2, 2011

My first ever genealogy society meeting...I know, I know

I am sad to admit that prior to this evening, I had never been to a genealogical society meeting. I have small children and my husband often works odd hours so getting away for a meeting is not always possible. Life has just gotten in the way.

But tonight's meeting was one I could not pass up. The topic for my local genealogy society's monthly meeting was blogging. Seriously, how could I miss it? If I'm honest I did not learn anything I didn't already know, but then the topic was geared toward beginning blogging. It seemed that everyone already knew each other and I felt like the new kid on the block, but that's to be expected.

The presenter put an interesting spin on the purpose of blogging, tweeting, etc. He said the purpose of these platforms was to bring to the "surface" information that would normally be hidden in the vast Web. That was an interesting way to explain why we blog or tweet or delish or whatever. I have often tried to figure out why genealogists tweet. What's so interesting about my traipsing through a cemetery that it needs a hashtag? (One could also ask what's so interesting about my personal genealogy that anyone would want to read my blog...let's not go there.) But it isn't so much about the fact that I'm doing something insanely interesting, but that I'm doing something about an ancestor that may just be your ancestor too. And if you see my tweet about finding a headstone for your fifth great aunt than you just might do a Genealogy Happy Dance. I'm still not going to tweet, but I think I understand the purpose better.

I took away one lesson from my first meeting: Just put your hand out and introduce yourself...being shy doesn't help you meet people. On the flip side of the coin I would suggest to genealogy societies that you assign your most personable individual as a greeter, whose specific purpose is to greet newcomers. I, and I imagine others, would be much more likely to return and join the society if we felt welcomed.

The important thing about this evening was that I put myself out there. I tried something new and ended up with a new perspective on social media which I think was a great bargain.

3 comments:

Sheri said...

Heather,

I know exactly how you feel. I hate going to events where I don't know anyone. But you know what? Each time I go back it gets easier.

Amy Coffin said...

The greeter thing is a great idea.

Glad you put yourself out there.

Amy (with extensive ancestry in Pope County, Arkansas)

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

I was proud of myself for going...I just need to take my shy "hat" off and introduce myself to other people. I also should have gotten there a touch earlier so that I could mingle...didn't account very well for parking!