Sunday, April 21, 2013

Twins and Social Media

Regal_Lisa by midgefrazel
Regal Lisa Alzo before her presentation,  NERGC 2013

Twins and Social Media

It has been ten years since I attended my first NERGC and so much has changed. My life has been forever changed by meeting other people involved in family history.

I skipped several years of NERGC conferences while I was finishing graduate school and learning to be a professional genealogist. Meeting and talking to others is so amazing! I tell you now for sure that the perspectives and the people involved in genealogy are changing genealogy itself. 

I may not have noticed this when I did my presentation at Library and Teacher Day four years ago in Manchester, NH. My topic was Digital Storytelling and it is only now that storytelling is becoming a trend in all aspects of genealogy. With technology tools, anyone can become a storyteller. It doesn't have to be just about writing text. Visual elements are critical to getting readers engaged in your stories.

My "twin", Lisa Alzo came to speak at NERGC this year. Her first presentation was at Librarian and Teacher Day and I did not attend that but just the fact that she spoke at LT Day was another thing to add to the growing list of things she and I have in common. It's quite a story and it has nothing to do with any ancestors but is about the people who "do" genealogy and how alike we are right down to a favorite TV program. This kind of thing is NOT what I expected to happen and wouldn't have happened without social media. 

Lisa and I planned to meet and have dinner together and to relax in my room and watch a repeat of Big Bang Theory while wearing our "Bazinga" shirts. We did this. That photo is on her camera and she is traveling so it will be a while until I get a copy. But, this is the photo hubs took of us with my iPhone. It's quite good. 

Lisa and Midge at dinner, 18 April, 2013
Lisa and I have no mutual ancestors but through her stories of her ancestors and her trips to the "old country", I have new ideas on how to research mine and how to tell their story. It will help with a presentation I am working on. It will also help me understand my female ancestors, beyond their vital records and who their husbands were. 

Lesson Learned: genealogists and family historians can learn from each other through storytelling and social media.

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