Sunday, April 21, 2013

This RootsTech "grousing" is for the birds

There has been some grousing about the selection of  "official" RootsTech bloggers by one not been selected these past three years. And for these three years I've been silent, wishing to stay above of the fray. Now I feel it my responsibility to speak in defense of the hard working bloggers who are reporting about RootsTech, whether or not chosen as "officials". Clearly, Ol' Myrt here doesn't think the grousing is justified. From we read:

Related Words for : grouse

The blogger's posts specifically single out by name, each official blogger, and is based by her stated and very purposefully limited review of the work official bloggers actually do before, during and after RootsTech. Her stated purpose is to criticize how official bloggers are selected, yet she attempts to do this by pointing out perceived faults in each official blogger.

Frankly, there's a "whole lotta grousing" going on.

PHOTO: Sage Grouse
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The disgruntled blogger's posts register concern that official bloggers don't blog much about RootTech prior to RootsTech. In reality, the only information official bloggers receive about the upcoming event is from the main sponsor, The first year there were periodic informative conference calls. But in subsequent years, we received precious few emails from FamilySearch about what will be happening at RootsTech. These emails are usually sent days after RootsTech posted the same text on their official blog. Ol' Myrt here doesn't like posting "redundancies". That's why is such a great idea.

Bloggers cannot write about something they cannot "see" or "hear" about. Regularly-scheduled conference calls are advisable here, so bloggers are better able to build interest in attending RootsTech. This would best be weekly meetings, starting a good six months before the conference and would encompasses 48 hours of work, half for the conference calls and half for writing a post each week.

There is a misconception that travel expenses are paid for official bloggers. We come at our own expense, though typically our conference registration is paid. This represents a hardship on Derk (Germany), Sonia (Spain), Rosemary (England), Jill (Australia) and others who traveled many thousands of miles to participate in RootsTech throughout the years.

Our conference admission is comped, though this year I paid the $99 "early bird" special conference registration rate. I did not know I would later be chosen as an "official blogger". I was not reimbursed.

One decided perk, each year official bloggers attend a bloggers dinner the night before the event, where we receive our registration kits and conference bags. This saves us from standing in registration lines the following morning. There is no partying late into the night, as the next day we must be up early to cover the opening keynote.

On RootsTech day one Official RootsTech Bloggers can elect to attend an private tour of the closed exhibit hall before the opening keynote session, making it easier to find a vendor later when he is at his booth. Interviews must be done in quick moments when the vendor can get someone to manage his booth. Typically this interviewing is held during class session periods when traffic in the exhibit hall is lower.

We are not restricted as to which classes we must attend and how many tweets, blogs, Instagrams, Facebook and Google+ posts we must make as "official" bloggers.

My work with video blogging is completely discounted by the disgruntled blogger. My blog had one "DearMYRTLE Live! at RootsTech 2013" post pointing my DearREADERS to my YouTube channel. Except for participating on two panels, one live-streamed, I attended no sessions because I was taping and uploading the unprecedented number of video interviews on a timely basis. Ooops, I did attend one session - where my daughter presented, her first time at a national conference. It was all I could do to FB a picture of her at the beginning, since my tears of joy prevented blogging of any sort.

I agree with Amy Coffin's comment on the disgruntled blogger's recent post, that the disgruntled blogger has only considered our blogs, when more conversations are going on using other regularly-accepted social media tools. This multifaceted social networking trend is well-documented by main stream media. Our blogs may have put us on the map, as noted by Thomas MacEntee with his comment about "top 40" and "official" blogs. Drew Smith responded with "I am more of a podcaster than a blogger". In my case, more conversations are indeed happening on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter than in my blog. Photos from the presentation at the bloggers dinner brought the first look at FamilySearch's new look posted by "official" bloggers Thomas and Ol' Myrt on Facebook.

By the disgruntled blogger's own admission admission, she chose not to put the effort into analyzing these well-accepted social media outlets resources when evaluating the reach of RootsTech Official Bloggers.

Ol' Myrt realizes it is hard to keep up with changing technology, and it is hard to quantify the impact of the RootsTech bloggers. Checking Klout, you'd find my score higher than Dick Eastman's rating, and that is obviously inaccurate. His readership is higher, and he is more techy than Ol' Myrt here.


Let's avoid playing the ethnic or religious heritage card. I attend genealogy conferences as an family history researcher, not as a Quaker, Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, atheist or a practicing LDS; nor as a German, English, Scottish, Irish or Welshman, with typically Caucasian but some Native American in my blood.. Those orientations certainly shaped the lives of my ancestors and affect who I am today.
I come to conferences with an inquiring mind to discover new research methods and learn about evolving tech tools that may assist in my personal ancestral quest. I choose to share what I learn with my DearREADERS in my blog, and more effectively in my video work now developing on my YouTube channel, where we can actually try out some of the tech tools together and discuss rather than lecture about research methodology. I certainly don't know it all, and:

I sure enjoy being in conversation with other genealogists on a regular basis where we can grow our research skills together.

By contrast, disgruntled blogger states "I write for myself. I write because I want to and I write about what I want to write about." Blogging is indeed a worthwhile method for honoring ancestors and expressing individual breakthroughs in research.

Ol' Myrt here applauds and it's sponsors for the profound, forward-thinking influence in the genealogy space. Innovations such as live streaming were previously unheard of at our conferences. Is there room for growth and change? Certainly. And big changes on already on the docket.

RootsTech is scheduled to broadcast to 100,000 attendees world wide in 2014, using satellite technology in place at local LDS meetinghouses throughout the world. I know of no other organization willing to dedicate such time, effort or expense to reach a world-wide audience and teach them how to preserve the history of their culture and ancestral heritage.

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

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