Book Review: The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research: Applying Web 2.0 Strategies, by Claire V. Brisson-Banks

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The advent of the Internet has been a big boon to genealogists. As more and more researchers start using, posting and seeking information from the Internet, new ways to connect share and learn are made available to the researcher. Now Web 2.0 promises new ways to research your family history. (Web 2.0 includes social media websites that allow you to share information, network and learn). As with any new technology, guidebooks on best ways to use that technology are vital. Claire Brisson-Banks' book, The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research is one of a few that aims at guiding the reader to better understanding multiple social media tools and how to use them.

Web 2.0 features covered in this book include Social Media, Email and Mailing Lists, Instant Messaging, SMS and Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, Forums, Real Simple Syndication, Social Bookmarking, Sharing Digital Images, Sharing Video Files, Podcasts and Vodcasts, E-Learning, Social Networking and Online Family History Games. The great thing about providing an overview of all these different types of tools is that while you may not be interested in one type, you are sure to find some value in another. This is a book that you don't have to read cover to cover but, instead, can choose the tools that interest you the most and start with those chapters.

This book is really for those who are new to Web 2.0 features; while not a comprehensive look at all genealogically related social media there are many good websites mentioned. As with any book that focuses on the Internet, information becomes quickly outdated. A good example is the information on the FamilySearch Wiki . A great source that has become massive in the information available. It would be nice if future editions of the book could update the many different Web 2.0 activities that FamilySearch is engaging in. As a staff member of the Family History Library, Claire is uniquely situated to teach and comment about these advances.

Although it is a moving target, this doesn't mean you should steer clear of books about Internet topics. Knowing that instructions for particular sites, urls and screen shots are in constant flux, you can use information from a book like The Social Media Guide as your jumping off point to better understanding what resources exist, and your own exploration of the websites mentioned.

The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research. Applying Web 2.0 Strategies, by Claire V. Brisson-Banks., 2011.

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