Why Reality Is As Important As Virtual

I am still digesting all that went on this weekend at the Southern California Genealogical Society‘s 40th Annual Jamboree this past weekend in Burbank, California.  What I don’t understand is why Jamboree was my first genealogy conference and why I waited so long to attend.  But one of the most obvious observations to me:

you can’t do your research or network with other genealogists only in the “virtual world” – you absolutely must interact with your colleagues in the “real world”

Simply put, you need a good mix of “real time” and “virtual time” to really understand the genealogy community.  A good mix, to me, means:

- spend time on the Internet researching your family tree and building your technical skills; but also get out and share those skills with your local genealogy society or others at genealogy conferences

- create a blog about one or more aspects of genealogy (see “What Types of Genealogy Blogs Are There?” from the Genealogy Blog Primer);  but also help your local genealogical or historical society set up a blog to advertise their events

- participate in online chats, carnivals, memes and events like Scanfest; but also get out and see what’s up at your local library, your nearest Family History Center, your local genealogy society

There is much truth in the old saying “no man is an island” when it comes to participating in the genealogy community.  Close to 40 geneabloggers were in attendance at Jamboree this weekend and there were things that we shared that just could not be done online in a virtual world.  I believe that I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation not only for my genealogy blogging colleagues, but for genealogical societies because of this great opportunity to interact.

While I am still exhausted from all this past weekend’s activities, I am also excited, exhilirated and energized by the possibilities of having the geneablogging community become a respected group of “influencers” in the greater genealogical community.  Stay tuned here at GeneaBloggers.com for information over the next few weeks and months.

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About Thomas MacEntee

What happens when a “tech guy” with a love for history gets laid off during The Great Recession of 2008? You get Thomas MacEntee, a genealogy professional who’s also a blogger, educator, author, social media connector, online community builder and more. Thomas was laid off after a 25-year career in the information technology field, so he started his own genealogy-related business called High Definition Genealogy. He also created an online community of over 3,000 family history bloggers known as GeneaBloggers. His most recent endeavor, Hack Genealogy, is an attempt to “re-purpose today’s technology for tomorrow’s genealogy.” Thomas describes himself as a lifelong learner with a background in a multitude of topics who has finally figured out what he does best: teach, inspire, instigate, and serve as a curator and go-to-guy for concept nurturing and inspiration. Thomas is a big believer in success, and that we all succeed when we help each other find success.

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