24 September 2015

What's Wrong with the Rockstar Genealogist poll: and what's right?

Of the over 2000 people who voted for their favourite Rockstar Genealogists 174 left comments.

They were compiled and processed through wordle.net. Many comments expressed appreciation and admiration for those for whom they voted.

Several reflect a misunderstanding of the vote. The Rockstars aren't necessarily "professional genealogists" -- which means different things in different jurisdictions. It's a people's choice award as indicated in the instructions
"Rockstar genealogists are those who give "must attend" presentations at family history conferences or as webinars; who, when you see a new family history article or publication by that person makes it a must buy; who you follow avidly on Facebook or Twitter."
The poll started four years ago as I was struggling to select speakers for meetings and thought it would provide guidance which would be more widely useful. Despite some doubt expressed in a couple of comments most seem to find it useful, or at least interesting.

Despite the list being open to nominations for a week, and widely publicized as open on social media, 48 additional names were mentioned as worthy of inclusion. A few of those had been included in previous years but were dropped as they received few votes. That's likely because they are known locally but don't have the extended profile needed to gather many votes. I hope folks mentioning those names take the initiative to recognize them and have them recognized locally. Not everyone of them would choose a Rockstar life!

If all the additional people mentioned were included the list would be almost 200 names. Some folks thought there were too many to choose from already. There were  a couple of suggestions of names to drop. Suggestions on how to deal with the length of the list appreciated.

Some Canadians were concerned that there were so many non-Canadians on the Canada list. Those on the list are those chosen by Canadians and, presumably, those they would like to hear at conferences and meetings or follow online.  I prefer to look at it positively as reflecting an openness, a lack of insularity, in Canada to hearing and learning from a broader international community.


Anonymous said...

Is it OK for me to "vote" in the Canadian section? My families were in what would become Canada from 1604 to 1755. I exchange info with those "we left behind"
Paul LeBlanc

Christine Woodcock said...

John, thanks for all you do and for allowing a bit of "star" status in the genealogy world. The lack of Canadians on the Canadian list seems to have kicked many people into high gear. They have learned to be less "Canadian" and more willing to promote themselves and each other. That, in itself, has been fun to watch. There has been a sudden jump in people showing off their skills and letting others know about their passion and their willingness to share with others.
Just yesterday, Gail Dever did a post on her "superhero", fellow Canadian, Lorine Shulze. In fairness to Gail, this is not the first time she has promoted or showcased other Canadians in the genealogy world. But it is one of the first times others have taken note and are willing to pipe in and share.
It will be interesting to see, next year, if there is a more even spread of Canadians on the Canadian list!

Chris Paton said...

I'll be honest John, whilst I totally understand the rationale behind it, I just find the word "rockstar" a bit embarrassing, which is why I did not plug it. I think everyone who stands on a stage is equally a rockstar, it takes guts to do it, and I can't sing to save my life! I don't do talks to compete against others, so felt a bit odd about plugging it in a competitive bid to solicit votes - I'm not sure whether the result is as much a reflection about those who can organise on social media as it is about actual ability on a stage, etc. I was nevertheless flattered to receive votes despite not having advertised it, but if it is about sourcing potential speakers in Canada, perhaps some form of survey in branches across the country might be a better method, rather than a beauty competition? I always lose in beauty competitions - it's the receding hairline, it never works in my favour. I was even once briefly abandoned by my mother in a butcher's shop in Helensburgh, as a baby - honest, I have that kind of face! :)

Good to catch up on Sunday in Ottawa, BIFHSGO was a great event!


Crissouli said...

Oh, Chris, the receding hairline didn't faze me a bit... I still voted for you!

Lynne Willoughby said...

I didn't vote this year and I only heard Chris's final talk at our conference last week, but I don't care what he says. Chris is still a rockstar on my list.

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

I can only speak for myself: I vote for those who inspire me in "print" or in presentations not because I've been solicited. While I doubt the poll is entirely representative it nevertheless provides a chance to support those who give a lot to our community. I do feel sorry for the American "ordinary" bloggers to who have no chance of getting a place against the heavy hitters - a shame the can't have their own category.

One suggestion John...just to add to your workload ;) It would be great if there was a hot link from the name to the person's blog or website so we can follow up more about those whose name many not be familiar to us.

Thanks for your hard work with this John.