Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Facebook

Randy Seaver, whose Genea-Musings blog I visit often, posted about joining Facebook and enrolling in the We're Related application. Not quite by coincidence, as reading another blog posting I'm sure must have inspired us both, I also signed on with Facebook on the same day.

It actually started when I had a chat with Louise St Denis from the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. She has some interesting changes in her business as well as personal life about to happen. Most aren't appropriate here, or embargoed. Stay tuned.

Louise did mention a potential initiative related to Facebook. One in four Canadians apparently now have a Facebook account.

A couple of hours later I noticed that Paul Allen (the lesser), who bills himself as Internet Entrepreneur and founder of MyFamily.com, now developing World Vital Records, has a new blog posting on that company's initiative on Facebook.

It was time to check out Facebook, and that initiative called We're Related.

One of the first things I found investigating Facebook was a table from November 2007 showing its popularity, especially in Canada.











There are other social networking sites so the figures reflect Canadian preferences for Facebook rather than overall interest in social networks. If you're looking to make contacts in other countries you may prefer to use a social network that's strong there. The relatively low penetration in Facebook, and undoubtedly other social network sites, for over 45s is also notable; I'm not so far behind my cohort. There's lots of potential!

It took about 20 minutes to register, to decide on the information I wanted to add and have the system scan my email for people who I might choose to add as friends. The first person responded within two minutes! Two people identified our friendship as through BIFHSGO, but I've not yet found how that is used.

I also signed up for We're related, but wasn't prepared to upload a GEDCOM.

Randy commented in his post "I've tried several genealogy "social network" sites and have been unimpressed by the "family tree" aspects of them - they just don't seem useful to me yet." I feel the same way about Facebook as a whole, but its early days yet.

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