To add to the concept of humility, I returned to the Mesa Family History Center to teach my class on Monday and had one participant. So much for fame and glory.
As a matter of fact, during the two days and four classes at Colorado Springs, I was repeatedly asked "What is a blog?" No, really, the question came up again and again. There was not so much any interest in blogs or blogging, just a total lack of awareness that they even existed. The Expo was well attended. The participants were enthusiastic, interested, and happy to be there. Overall it was a total success. But the comments concerning blogging got me thinking again about living on the Internet.
There is that scene in MIB, where Agent K gets tired of the whole game and starts to notice the stars in the sky. Perhaps, rather than quitting like Agent K, as bloggers we need to look out and see the stars, or in other words, see what we can do to be more inclusive of the general population of genealogists or people interested in their family history? My impression, as I continue to think about it, is that blogger read blogs. An example, from someone I know quite well, is my wife. She is not a blogger. She reads blogs, but only very selectively. She has certain ones she follows, like those written by our children, but more than that she reads only a few that have caught her eye over the years. The ones she chooses do not happen to be any genealogy blogs even though she is interested in genealogy. It is sort of like which books you read and which shows you watch and like. You make a choice of what media you consume and extending that beyond your comfort zone is rarely done.
Outside of the genealogy circles, I find almost zero awareness of the entire online genealogy community (again in the most inclusive sense). Genealogists have a tendency to see the world through genealogy glasses, just as gardener see the world through gardening glasses, fishermen see the world through fishing glasses and so forth. Jay Verkler, past CEO of FamilySearch was quoted by Dick Eastman as saying the following:
Jay made a comment that sticks in my mind: "Genealogy must be a collaborative experience." After all, our ever-expanding number of genealogists is focusing on the same pool of ancestors. FamilySearch is developing new software tools and methodologies to assist in this collaboration. One change is that genealogy is changing from an activity done by individuals to a group collaborative effort.As genealogy bloggers aren't we more like little radio stations broadcasting out to a world that isn't listening? Where is the evidence of collaboration? Where is the group effort? Maybe we need a bloggers coop or other organization? Maybe, we just need to keep doing what we are doing right now and keep expanding the reach of the genealogy bloggers and that over time, we will have a greater and greater impact on the entire genealogical community?