Saturday, May 12, 2018
My Experience in Social Networking
One of the most interesting things about my social networking experience is the fact that of all my activities, I am most endorsed by the LinkedIn.com community for Social Media over any other activity. I recently tabulated by social networking views from those programs that provide statistics and in the last month, I have had over 85,000 views plus whatever from Facebook and other venues that don't supply analytics. In a busy month, I can have well over 100,000 views. This blog has had more than 136,000 views in one month. However, numbers do not tell much at all about how social networking fits into my life. These numbers do not count all the other posts on FamilySearch.org, MyHeritage.com, FamilyHistoryExpos.com and other websites.
As I have written in the past, blogging is undergoing some major changes and genealogy blogging is part of the changes that are occurring. But that is another topic for another time.
Of course, I have to mention the over 100 webinars and presentations on YouTube.com mainly for the Brigham Young University Family History Library. That could be considered to be social networking also. The Brigham Young University Family History Library has over 6,621 subscribers and presently over 430,000 views. My most watched webinar now has over 33,000 views.
As an additional note, with this post, I will have published 10,610 blog posts from my three main blogs, not counting all the other writing for FamilySearch and other entities. This kind of reminds me of an analogy of the infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of typewriters. It would seem that I might have said something significant even if what I write is randomly generated.
I realize that those numbers are tiny compared to others in the social networking world, but the impact of talking to people and meeting with people who share a common interest with me has changed my life dramatically over the years. When I moved to Annapolis, Maryland, I already had contact with people who I had never met personally but had written to and communicated with for years. As a side note, if I fail to write for a few days for whatever reason, I sometimes get inquiries as to the status of my health. That is a really nice part of writing so much.
How does social networking fit into my life? That is a good question. For me, social networking is a background that maintains a connection to a large "family" of acquaintances and friends. It is also one of the main ways I keep in contact with my real family of children and grandchildren. In a much greater sense, as I have written previously, writing online is like carrying on a conversation with the world. It still amazes me that I can sit at my computer and write from Mesa, Arizona or Provo, Utah or Annapolis, Maryland or any other location including countries like Canada and Costa Rica and maintain this ongoing conversation for more than 11 years. By the way, this is mostly a one-way conversation because I never seem to generate a lot of responses unless I write something really outrageous.
How much time do I spend on social networking? That is a hard question to answer because technically my blog writing is considered social networking and I do spend a significant amount of time writing. In a greater sense, all of my contributions to over 25 published books on genealogical research could also fit into the category of social networking. Fortunately, I can still type rather quickly and my computer programs correct most spelling and typographical errors although a few do creep in and as some would say, obviously. Actually, since I think about topics and wake up with ideas, I suppose my mind keeps working all night and all day.
Who do I think I am writing to, i.e. who do I think my audience is? Beats me. I really never think about an audience unless I am involved in a tirade on one subject or another and in that case, I am directly my writing to those who are least likely to read what I write. In fact, most of my writing is directed at people who will never read what I write. Hmm.
If you take a class or read a book about writing or becoming an author or writer, there is a lot of drivel about "finding your voice." Have I found my voice? It really isn't something I think about. I do know that most of my English teachers and my other teachers over the years would probably roll over in their graves if they found out how much I have written over the past years.
I have written a couple of novels and a lot of poetry, but none of that gets published. The real heart of all my writing is a passion for genealogy and family history. I literally live every day of my life with an endless multitude of ancestors looking over my shoulder. Sometimes, I like to pick on one or two particular ancestors, but overall, I think they are acting in concert or in committees or whatever and directing my life. I can only ignore them at my peril.
How long can this all go on? That is the question. I am getting old enough to realize that there is an end out there sooner or later. We will take that issue one day at a time.
Oh, what about the photography? That actually makes a few dollars a year. It is also a passion, but one in the background. I now carry a camera everywhere I go and so taking photos is just part of living and breathing. You would think that I didn't have much time for anything else, but I do have a lot of other interests and presently a full-time job digitizing records at the Maryland State Archives for FamilySearch.org and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Do I ever think about writing about something else? Yes, but I avoid politics.