Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Clogged Channels

We recently got rid of two TVs and cancelled our cable TV subscription. We find that we are almost entirely Internet oriented and there is nothing on cable TV we are really interested in watching. This happens despite the fact that there are an almost unlimited number of channels. What has happened in communication overload and clogged channels. Commercial TV is so full of advertisements, both overt and covert, that sometimes there is seven minutes of ads for every three minutes of programming.

Unfortunately, I feel like the genealogical community is getting clogged channels also. There is a literal flood of information, much of which is basically commercial advertising, associated with genealogy. Now, don't get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with advertising per se. But what I see happening is that as the online community grows, the amount of information becomes more redundant and it becomes more and more difficult to filter through to the information you are interested in obtaining. I sometimes wonder what would happen if I simply disconnected myself from the electronic world? Maybe I should take up gardening again?

I presently follow 224 blogs and websites. There is no physical way I can process all that information every day, every hour, every minute as it comes flowing into my computer. So I have to pick and choose what I look at and what draws my attention. It helps to use aggregators like to sort out the flow of information, but there is so much out there that I am not subscribed to, I have to establish some iron-clad priorities to avoid gridlock. You can't watch Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and hundreds of blogs all at the same time.

I have recently decided to emphasize personal help and contact over electronic contact. Some of the online things I have been doing may suffer as a result of this decision, but in the long run, I will be able to help people on a one-on-one basis. Part of this decision involves traveling and presenting at a variety of off-site locations around the state and country. I guess it is my time to present. I will keep up my writing also. But some of my online involvement may get cut back.

I think in the long run, we have to consider what is realistic in genealogy and everything else. What can we really do over the long term and how do we achieve our basic genealogy goals if we fritter away our time on less productive activities? I am still seeking a balance and will let you know if I finally complete any of the long term projects I have to focus on and complete.


  1. Great post! I feel the same way, there's an overload of info and a lot of it is redundant. I see the same topics, spun in a slightly different way, in the hopes of growing their influence in the genealogy community. I spend a lot of time culling through blog posts and Twitter and Facebook, and do find a lot of fresh information, but I hate it when I see the same thing fifty times. Plus, there is so much info to sift through that I've let it overtake my actual research time. Thanks again for the thought-provoking post.

  2. Good for you, James. I tend to look at life as a set of acts and scenes; performing in the same way over and over can become cumbersome and overwhelming (and dull). I'm sure you'll enjoy your new venture of passing along your knowledge through presentations. You will also meet some really awesome people. Good luck!!

  3. Exactly. I just cancelled my home internet, because I found myself frittering way too much. While the ideal is to get back to priorities, I'm still not sure how to focus my limited online time. Hope your readjustment goes well.