Since a majority of serious minded genealogists are not pimple marked high school age and below, networking can be seen as a bit of an ill advised fit. Yet, in fact, most of us have been doing some sort of networking in our attempts to find people knowledgeable about a particular subject or resource. We may attend a genealogical society or local club, talk to a local librarian or attend a genealogical seminar. You might be corresponding to people in other states or you might be tracking down living relatives with the hope they might fill in some gaps. This is all related to the activity of networking. I was first introduced to this word many years ago as it applied to finding a job. It became obvious that it was who you knew or perhaps who you knew, who knew of others, which led one to more open doors and opportunities to explore.
Undoubtedly for many non-savvy computer operators, networking with the internet as your highway to others is a bit daunting. It does not have to be so. The plethora of tools available to interweave from one site to another is becoming easier and easier to use. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you.
Let me start by giving you an actual example of a series of events and actions which can be a good example of networking. I have been sending out each year some over 300 mailings of my annual Alkali Flats Gazette newsletter to family and friends for the last 10 years. I concentrate on the surname of Smith and the Owen names. I have been doing it instead of sending out Christmas cards. The mailing list is of friends, family and an occasional enthusiastic genealogy researcher. One of the researchers looked me up on Facebook and found me there.
On Facebook my profile is linked to one of my blogs on MySpace. I monthly place an entrée on MySpace blog about genealogy. The blog is linked to several of my social networking sites. This allows my Facebook friends and others interested in genealogy to be kept inform of my latest nugget of information concerning the subject. Then I occasionally get an e-mail from friends and associates who have followed the link and read my latest genealogy article on MySpace.
As a writer it is precious to know someone out there is reading my stuff, but more importantly it allows any current genealogical research or data to be shared and commented on a regular basis.
As a genealogist this system of criss-crossing of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace etc. can pickup a maximum amount of like minded people as well as people researching similar fields of information.
Some libraries and other store houses of genealogical information now subscribe to social networks. They send out periodically relevant updates on histories and new available collection that has recently arrived. Giving the researcher the heads up about fresh and important information.
Networking is really just getting the word out. The how and the means is up to the researcher. Get out there and mingle and make sure your passwords are difficult to crack and the websites you visit are credited.
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