Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Official Response from Geni.com

DearREADERS,
My mistake. I had thought to use Geni.com as a genealogy research collaboration site for posting my tree and hoping for communication with a heretofore unknown distant cousin that may have inherited the family bible or an ancestral tintype. After reading through Geni George's official response to me, Ol' Myrt here stands corrected.

If you'd like to read Geni George's response to my previous blog post, Geni.com didn't ask my opinion see: http://www.geni.com/blog/geni-pro-just-got-a-whole-lot-better-369661.html#comment-288085505

After looking at things from Geni George's point of view, I better understand the intention of the Geni.com site. Then it all makes perfect sense. See this from George's comment:
"Geni has always had the vision of a shared tree.  This is something that we have been trying really hard to communicate over the past year, and most of the bloggers we have been working with have failed to understand it:  we view the tree as "everyone's" tree, not "your" tree or "my" tree.  This is such a paradigm shift for genealogists, and we feel like it is vital for people to understand that the wiki vision disregards the notion of sole ownership.  Does this make sense?"
If genealogy bloggers have "failed to understand it" then I guess Geni.com has wasted time marketing to genealogy researchers such as dedicated genealogists so motivated as to write blogs about all things genealogical.

OWNING MY OWN TREE
I think of my tree as my research. I do get that I don't own my genealogy, indeed I share my heritage with many other descendants, most of whom I don't know. However, I am doing research, and if every time I come back to look at my online tree things have been merged without logic discernible by me, there is chaos. I may eventually get to the same conclusion as another researcher, but Geni.com isn't the environment for such researcher collaboration.

WHAT IS GENI.COM'S MARKET?
Hmmm, Ol' Myrt sees a conflict here. In this paragraph, George explains they are going for "serious genealogists".

Geni George says "We made this change as part of our ongoing attempts to make our business model one that is sustainable for decades to come.  Some have pointed out that they think we are doing this for short term revenue gain, which is not true.  And when we make adjustments to our business model in the future, people will speculate, but the fact will remain that we are simply trying to remain a viable business by providing features that serious genealogists find valuable." [Emphasis added.] 

But then in response to the following question, Geni George explains Geni.com's focus is really on basic users who are working on a "social network for families," which in my mind is reaching out to living generations and not doing ancestral research.

[Myrt wrote] Restricting collaboration to those with Pro accounts sorta defeats the purpose of a freebie account, doesn't it Geni.com? How will anyone see a benefit of going Pro?

[Geni George replied] First, we feel that allowing Basic users to build out to their 3rd great grandparents and fourth cousins provides a very ample opportunity to determine whether Geni is a suitable solution for building a family tree.  Second, while you and almost every other commenter on this blog post are more serious about genealogy than the average person, it must be noted that the vast majority of our users are participating as part of their close family network; a social network for families, if you may. [Emphasis added.] By far, most of Geni's users are unaffected by the changes we made last week."

CONCLUSION


If that vast majority of Geni.com users wasn't affected by the change, then this means the vast majority of users are not genealogists. I don't want to collaborate with non-genealogists. I use Facebook to network effectively with my non-genealogist living family members.


It is then only the vociferous genealogists using Geni.com who are complaining.

So basically,  genealogists shouldn't be angry with Geni.com. We are mistakenly trying to use the Geni.com service -- one that was designed to bring current living family members closer together -- mistakenly for genealogy research collaboration. (Did I say mistakenly?) There are viable alternatives.


Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.