Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If you were designing a webinar lineup

This past week, Myrt firmed up a sponsor willing to support the larger "room" capacity of 1,000 ~ a great improvement over the limit to 100 attendees to my current GoToWebinar subscription. This means I'll be doing a lot more webinars -- either as a presenter or a host to other presenters. My question for you is...

WHAT would you like to see in genealogy webinars?

I'm already considering:

  • A 1940s Census Indexing Support Group, with a panel of leading specialists.
  • Regular DearMYRTLE Workshop Webinars, with a lot less PowerPoint and a lot more demos.
  • A three-way series spotlighting Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker 2012 genealogy management software.
  • An expanded English Research series where you have homework during the week to view specific online how-to-videos, with follow-up instructions from a Family History Library British Isles reference specialist.
  • A multi-week study of Tom Jones' revised Inferential Genealogy series from FamilySearch.org in a similar homework, then discussion format.
  • Joint presentations with Carrie Keele, my daughter who blogs at NotYourMothersGenealogy.com
  • Touring various genealogy websites from a "user" point of view, with input from an official rep from that site in the wings to answer questions.
Some of the webinars I'm considering involve experts where we haven't yet sealed the deal. Some support will go to foreign-language webinars hosted by companies with genealogy managers in various countries.

An important component of this work will be periodic access to the archived version of a webinar, and the option to purchase archived webinars in digital or DVD format for a nominal fee.

I firmly believe that live streaming of conference sessions (like RootsTech 2011 & 2012) and webinars are the best way to reach a large number of people at nominal cost -- and it's perfect for the "category" of genealogy. 

Ol' Myrt here wishes to support every instance of genealogy webinars, globally, in any way I can. There are tricks to "finalizing" the GoToWebinar recording that have been worked through over the years of using the service. Geoff from LegacyFamilyTree.com and Mike from RootsMagic.com have been particularly helpful in sharing their experiences in this regard. GoToWebinar is just like any other service -- they try to provide tech support, but we all get by with a little help from our friends. I still see that service as providing the most stable platform at the best price for hosts.

I encourage all hosts and presenters to contribute to the GeneaWebinars calendar and blog.

I'd like to see societies embrace this technology by incorporating virtual presentations into the lineup for at least half of their regularly-scheduled meetings. I'd also like larger organizations like the Washington DC Family History Center use webinar technology to expand the reach of their annual conferences beyond the confines of the meeting room walls. (Can FamilySearch assist larger FHCs by providing access to FamilySearch's webinar software? They do it for the Riverton FamilySearch Library.)

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

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