This week we are tasked with writing about social media. Social media can connect us to people we otherwise wouldn’t have encountered. Have you made a family history discovery via social media?
This post is inspired by the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge.
Here’s a summary of the various social media channels that I use, along with comments on their genealogy relevance.
As I mentioned in my last post about the Hultman family, I made a very important connection to a distant cousin on Facebook and it led to important discoveries. I have three profiles on Facebook:
- Personal Facebook – this is my main Facebook profile and where I connect with friends and family. I enjoy hearing news about my cousins here, but I rarely post much myself. I do use this profile to connect to several useful Facebook groups and pages, however. Here’s a partial list (some of these are private):
- The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding
- Research Like a Pro With DNA
- Bass Surname Genealogy
- SGSC – Swedish Genealogy Society of Colorado
- Nebraska Genealogy Network
- Nebraska State Genealogical Society
- Weld County, Colorado Genealogy Society
- Skånksa Rätter (in Swedish)
- Swedish American Genealogy Group – this one is GREAT for getting help with translating or interpreting Swedish records
- Rudeen Family History is a Facebook page where I post notices and links to this blog about my side of the family
- Rademacher Family History is a Facebook page where I posts notices and links to this blog about Dale’s side of the family
Each of the major genealogy websites has a messaging component associated with your user profile, so in my mind these count as social media channels, too! Here are my profiles on the major sites (you will need a paid subscription to see some of these):
- Ancestry – member name KarenRademacher78
- FamilySearch – member name Karen Rademacher
I have a Twitter account but I only use it to read mostly non-genealogy stuff.
Not being sure about the future of Twitter, I recently signed up for a Mastodon account. I’ve found that many people that I have followed on Twitter in the tech, weather/climate, and knitting communities have moved over to Mastodon. (I follow weather and climate news out of habit, it used to be part of my job as a water resources engineer.) After an initial surge of “migrants” following Elon Musk’s buyout of Twitter, the migration seems to have slowed down. I’m not seeing much of a genealogy community but I haven’t been looking all that hard either. The jury’s still out on this one.
I used to have an Instagram account but they started getting aggressive about asking me for my birthdate. I didn’t feel like telling them my birthdate, and they locked me out of my account until I send a copy of my birth certificate or driver’s license. Good-bye, Instagram.
I have a LinkedIn account but it doesn’t seem like a good fit for a retiree. However, I can see a lot of my former colleagues there and keep up with what’s happening in my profession. Not much genealogy stuff happening there, at least for me.
My favorite tool for keeping up with news and information, including genealogy websites, continues to be good ol’ RSS. I use Feedly on the web, iPhone and iPad. Not really sure it’s “social media”, but use it to follow over 180 newspapers, websites, and blogs; about 70 of them are genealogy-related. I can skim through the headlines on Feedly and decide whether or not to read the full article, sort of the way I used to read magazines and newspapers back in the day. I don’t know why RSS readers fell out of fashion, RSS still works great and it’s my favorite way of staying up-to-date on all varieties of news and information.