Thursday, July 16, 2009 down this morning

Ol' Myrt has been playing around with the new social networking website known as I've been reluctant to write much about it, as I don't like to send my readers on a wild goose chase. If you attempt to go to the site this morning, it will be for naught, because for whatever reason, the site is down.

Other geneabloggers have commented about the meteoric rise in popularity of what Randy Seaver calls "Facebook for genealogists" including:

So, Ol’ Myrt here will now weigh in on the situation. Certainly a "genealogy only" social networking site will improve communication among researchers. It won't replace my Facebook account, as I have found long lost schoolmates, etc, and enjoy keeping up with them

Ol' Myrt sees the following problems with GenealogyWise thus far:

  • Inadequate technical support This is a customized Ning site, and many problems reported by the users are simple programming adjustments offered by the Ning environment. FamilyLink should have the experts to smooth over the rough spots.
  • Inappropriate approach to genealogy For a few hours there was a posting on the top middle of the main GenealogyWise page from FamilyLink staff requesting ideas for a source to purchase family crests. The idea was to use them as graphics to distinguish each surname group. Ol’ Myrt wrote to suggest that this policy of promoting family crests is bad. All purchases of crest-emblazoned coffee mugs and teeshirts aside, competent genealogists know that coats of arms are awarded to individuals, not families. My suggestion was to merely use the first letter of the surname or some such generic icon.
  • Overly focused on the numbers The recently announced (and silly) $100 contest rewards are actually counter-productive, encouraging overly-inflated group and friendship development. If GenealogyWise is going to work, it will work because the users like it, not because it develops into a confusing mass of empty surname groups, and too many empty email posts requiring one to click to view the actual posting back at GenealogyWise.

Don't give up on GenealogyWise. I think it can overcome the initial challenges of a start-up site. Ol' Myrt's work certainly isn't perfect either.

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

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