I was just sitting here going through my calendar for the month of January and realized we were only a few days away from my leaving for Salt Lake City, Utah and RootsTech 2014. Personally, I have seen a much greater awareness and interest in this year's Conference that any of the three proceeding ones. I know more of the missionaries and volunteers at the Mesa FamilySearch Library are planning on attending the Conference than in previous years. I hope we all don't leave the Library too short-handed in the process.
Part of my process includes watching the weather. Going from our balmy 70 degrees plus in Mesa to Salt Lake City in the middle of the Winter is always an interesting challenge. I notice for the next ten days the forecast is for nighttime temperatures in the mid- to low 20s which is below zero Celsius. Fortunately, we have Winter weather clothing, but do not always remember to load piles of coats etc. in our car or take them on airplanes when it is warm and sunny in Mesa.
In looking through the class subject lineup, I guess I am the designated evangelist for Blogging. But I find it interesting from a cultural, social and genealogy standpoint that half of the Keynote Speakers this year are known by their blogging efforts. I cannot give an accurate assessment as to how many of the Speakers are also bloggers, but my impression is that out of the 122 sessions planed, many (most?) of the presenters are also bloggers.
I assume that it will take years yet before the social scientists and media experts figure out why blogging became the venue of choice for serious news reporting in our country and around the world, but I think that rather than turn everyone into journalists, blogging as let the journalists wrest control from the "media establishment." For my own part, I no longer have to deal with a "publishing" entity to get "published." On the other hand, the blogging community as a whole is brutal place to try to establish a foothold. Sometimes I feel like I am chipping away at some oversized block of marble rather than communicating. But I try to ignore convention and sometimes decorum and just write away. From my own perspective, the surprise in all this is that people actually read what I write. I think some of my early teachers, it they knew what I was doing, writing all day, would probably start to believe in miracles. I think my wife, who edits a lot of what I write, doesn't think it is much of miracle however. It is usually too painful to be a miracle. By the way, if you find my usual wrong word or typos, you can rest assured that I put it online without my wife's help. She is a former English teacher and I can't get much past her.
One thing about RootsTech 2014, this year more than last, is wear comfortable walking shoes and eschew fashion. The distances will be much, much greater with the change in venue to the main Salt Palace area. If you have gone to an FGS Conference or any other conference in the main part of the Salt Palace, you will know what I am talking about. For those staying in the Radisson, we will have to walk an extra block to get to the Conference and blocks in Salt Lake are not like blocks in Mesa. Salt Lake may be pedestrian friendly, but it also assumes the pedestrians are hikers with hiking boots. It is also almost 5000 feet above sea level.
It looks like from the map of the classrooms that there will not be as much congestion as past years, but I predict that the numbers of people will still cause a lot of us to be left out in the hallways when classes are overflowing. Don't be alarmed if you find me sitting on the floor somewhere, I have a habit of doing that when I have to.
I haven't heard as much from FamilySearch directed to or at the Bloggers as in past years. Maybe we are no longer a novelty, but just another function of the Convention like the folks who put up chairs and such. Oh, well, it was nice being an almost celebrity for a while. (Who am I kidding. Being a genealogy blogger is still, as I maintain, the same as being the Mayor of Nutrioso, Arizona, a title but not much else as far as the world is concerned). I think by now, most of the folks at FamilySearch probably realize (and some dread) that I will keep writing no matter what they do or don't do for or to me. But I do very much appreciate all that FamilySearch and everyone there is doing and has done in the past for me and all of us. Let's have three great big cheers for FamilySearch and RootsTech!!!