As some of you know, I have been involved with the DearMYTLE Genealogy Community on Google+. So, I thought I would take a moment or two to see if I can describe what a Google+ community is and why it may be important to those of use to do family history research. I have already benefitted, through sharing, from this relatively new “platform” to talk about genealogy.
I will share the experience with the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Community, but I hope that those reading this blog post, that it is really another Tool, for our Genealogy Tool kit. Another online platform to use while doing our research. For example, the Hang Out feature to have a family gathering, on line, around the world, or just next door.
I started by watching a Google Hangout On Air with this title:
What I got out of that YouTube presentation was that a community can be Topic Based. Certainly, that is what Dear MYRTLE has done for us. But what does that mean. If you have been using Google+, it is a stream of postings by other Google+ users. That users are those who YOU have decided to follow. That is your Stream of messages on Google+. If you follow 100 people, you will see what they post.
The “next” level of posting is to a Circle. For example, I have a Genealogy Circle. Those folks that I ‘follow’, who are also interested in genealogy of family history research, I put into that circle. IF I have a message that is on the topic of genealogy, I will select that circle to post that message to. I have a Family Circle. The Family circle may not be interested in what I have to say about Genealogy. Another circle I have is on Headstones. The other two circles may not be interested in my headstone pictures. So, Circles are “private”. Only those in the circle that I post to, will see those messages. I can post to more than one circle, so I control who will see what I post.
So what is different from a Circle (mine) verses a Community. You can join the community, if you find it. DearMYRTLE has a closed group, BUT, it can be found and you can ask to JOIN the Community. Two people monitor those requests to join, and you will be approved.
One major difference is that Communities can be Searched and they are Indexed. Family Historians know what indexed and “can be searched” means. Each post, Each COMMENT, AND Each time you click that +1 ICON, helps get the Community to appear higher in the results using the Google Search Engine. A circle won’t do that.
We have used Twitter as a genealogy tool. Don’t give up on that tool, as it is another useful genealogy tool in our tool box. But, unlike Twitter, Google+ communities are focused, and by replying to a comment or post, you can “continue the conversation”. I find it difficult just watching twitter, to pick up on a Hashtag. If I focus on ONE hashtag, like “ #genealogy ” I would miss out on the “ #genchat “. But a message in a community, such as the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Community won’t get lost. Oh, did I mention it’s longer then 140 characters.
You will see, on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Community, some categories on the left side. That focuses the discussion on specific topics, like Hang Outs. So, it’s topic based, within the community.
The referred to YouTube video mentioned Not Competition with other genealogy communities, which are being created, but another place for cooperation, or as I have hear DearMYTLE say Collaboration.
Part 2 YouTube
In the community, WE talk about what WE want to read about. Google+ would be everything, based on your circles or folks you follow, while the DearMYRTLE community is only talking about Genealogy.
This second video talks a little more about how the information within the Community is “controlled”. Also, ALL posts, even published within a Category, the Community will see those posts. If you, the reader, wants to just look at Hang Outs, just look at that Category.
The hint about “all of the emails” from the community, they suggest that you turn the Notifications (Bell ICON on the Left) OFF. As a moderator, I keep that ON because I want to see want to see the posts and comments. You may not want to see all of them. OR as we suggested in one of our early Hangouts On Air, Turn the Notifications OFF during the Hangout, the turn it back ON following the Hangout.
Part 3 (a week into Communities)
One of the comments about growing the of Communities in Google+, was encouraging conversation within the community.
End of Part 1