Undoubtedly, for many non-savvy computer operators, networking with the Internet as your highway to others is a bit daunting. It does not have to be so. The plethora of tools available to interweave from one site to another is becoming easier and easier to use. Believe me, if I can do it, so can you.
Let me start by giving you an actual example of a series of events and actions which can be a good example of networking. I have been sending out each year over 300 mailings of my annual Alkali Flats Gazette newsletter to family and friends for the last 10 years. I concentrate on the surname of Smith and the Owen names. I have been doing this instead of sending out Christmas cards. The mailing list is of friends, family, and an occasional enthusiastic genealogy researcher. One interested researcher looked me up on Facebook and found me there.
On Facebook my profile is linked to one of my blogs on MySpace. I monthly on MySpace, I place an blog entry about genealogy. The blog is linked to several of my social networking sites. This allows my Facebook friends and others interested in genealogy to be kept informed of my latest nugget of information concerning the subject. Then I occasionally get an e-mail from friends or associates who have followed the link and read my latest genealogy article on MySpace.
As a writer it is precious to know someone out there is reading my stuff, but more importantly it allows any current genealogical research or data to be shared and commented on a regular basis.
As a genealogist this system of criss-crossing of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. can gather a maximum amount of likeminded people as well as people researching similar fields of information.
Some libraries and other storehouses of genealogical information now subscribe to social networks. They send out periodically relevant updates on histories and available collections that have recently arrived, giving researchers a heads-up about fresh and important information.
Networking is really just getting the word out. The how and the means are up to the researcher. Get out there and mingle and make sure your passwords are difficult to crack and the websites you visit are credible.