Of course you are as young as you feel; but, for various reasons, age has been seen as incompatible with the latest technology. We have all been told, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
I am not young enough to have been born with my fingers wrapped around the keyboard of a computer, or watching a DVD from my cradle, but I am also not too old to have ignored the technological advances all together. I sympathize with many researchers whom are intimidated by computers.
So when I thought of this topic, I figured there would be some tribulations among my fellow genealogists. The only advice I can give is, "Don't be intimidated!"
The term blog is a combination of "web" and "log." The term "Weblog" was first introduced in 1997 and after Peter Merholtz broke down web log into the phrase "we blog" in 1999, the term "blog" gained traction in society ever since.
Essentially a blog is a text media software which allows the user to regularly add and update entries in a chronological order. There are other different media driven blogs, like audioblogs, also called pod casts, and photo/video blogs called vlogs.
Web sites which sponsor blogs have added other tools which make them valuable to storing genealogical data and articles while providing research groups to cross access what each contributor has found. For example Myspace.com offers a profile page and a blog for free. As long as you are a member of the network, you can subscribe to any public approved blog.
What this means to genealogists is that a particular research group, working on a similar subject or passion could enter new data, articles, documents, etc. onto their blog and, as soon as it is posted, every other subscribing member would get an e-mail that new material had been written.
If all of the subscribers were researchers of a particular surname, everyone in that group would be immediately informed of new family history found, helpful articles, obituaries, new sources and resources online—even a query could be posted for the group to read. There is even a place to add comments, thus having instant feedback and room for correction.
Blogs can also replace the need of newsletters, bulletins, and other periodical journals as information is disseminated as soon as it is written.
In April of this year I created a blog at Myspace.com. Since I was a writer of science fiction, I found a group of like-minded individuals. My stories and ideas could be shared with other Sci. Fi. enthusiasts. It was quite easy. This web site, in particular, is bent for gossip-driven teenagers whom want to know the daily chatter amongst friends. But, do not let this detour you from considering genealogy blogs. Since you want primarily to exchange data with other researchers, you do not have to spend a lot of time with your profile. You can be as discreet as you wish. An important caveat for anyone using the internet is to use caution and avoid revealing personal information that could be misused.
There are other places on the web which offer blogs, including Yahoo.com, Genealogy.com, Geocities.com, and Blogstream.com. Some sites charge, some do not. Some have other tools that can be used along with the blog and others don't. I established a blog at Geocities.com, a free website operated by Yahoo. If you already have an e-mail account at Yahoo, you can go to "your account" tab and easily setup a blog.
It's time for us oldsters to begin rubbing elbows with the youngsters online. The technology is ever evolving with many special applications, like genealogical research, which can aid everyone in the pursuit of their own human history.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.
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