Re-energize Your Research! Re-energize You!

Energizing

Photo Credit: ctr @ freeimages.com

The last couple weeks have been busy at our house. Celebrating Easter, Confirmation and the final tournament of club volleyball season has kept my little family on the go. You know how it is, with all these events packed into a couple weeks. There’s less researching, less writing, less Facebook time and less Twitter on my part.

At first I was really bothered by that. No blog posts! Few tweets! Everyone will forget me! Oh no! The earth will quit turning! But as the days went by and I enjoyed my family events I realized the sun came up every morning even without a new blog post or Facebook message from me.

Maybe it’s happened before to you too. The pressure you feel (probably self-imposed) to keep up with social media, along with your blog writing and blog reading. Somehow we get in the mindset that pushing harder for more blog posts, more tweets, more of everything makes us smarter and much more professional. Then if it doesn’t get done a small somewhat frantic panic sets in. There’s so much “computer work” to do and what if I don’t get it all done! I’ve felt just that way these past couple weeks but you know what? I came to a realization.

It’s okay to step away from the grid now and then. We need time to re-energize and to restore our enthusiasm for genealogy, our research, in fact our daily life!

My online dictionary tells me this about re-energize:

rē-ˈenərjīz/ verb; give fresh vitality, enthusiasm, or impetus to

You know what? That’s exactly what stepping away has done for me these past couple weeks. In the time away I’ve done some thinking about my writing and research. I’ve spent some quiet time planning what direction I want my blog to take. I feel good about my decisions. I feel refreshed. I’m ready to get back on track. I found that I’m more than ready to learn, to research and write again. I want to jump back into social media and see what my friends have been up to and you know what? I don’t feel guilty about the time spent with those who mean the most to me or the moments I spent listening to my own thoughts.

Every now and then I think we all should unplug for a few days. No stressing about it, just enjoying some time to ourselves. We all need to regroup now and again and how much better our contributions will be if we’re enthusiastic and re-energized! So look at your calendar and take some time to unplug. I am!

My blog was nominated for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award

by Mariann S. Regan!  How wonderful! Thank you!

IBPTeamMemberReadership

I was surprised and appreciative that Mariann thought of me and my blog. She writes such an inspiring and well researched blog herself that I’m sure Mariann had many, many folks to choose from.

The creators of The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award had one thought, “As bloggers, we are also readers. That is a part of blogging as listening is a part of speaking.”

Not only do I get the opportunity to receive this thoughtful nomination. I get the opportunity to acknowledge my blog readers as well. The bloggers nominated for this award are expected to “pay the honor forward.” Here are the rules we’re all supposed to follow:
(i) Don’t forget to thank the nominator and link back to their site as well;
(ii) Display the award logo on your blog;
(iii) Nominate no more than fourteen readers of your blog you appreciate and leave a comment on their blogs to let them know about the award;
(iv) Finish this sentence: “A great reader is…”
“A great reader takes the time to respond to a blog post, interacting with the author and letting him/her know how their words touched or motivated the reader.”
Now to unveil the bloggers who have read and responded to my blog posts! I’d like to gratefully nominate these blog readers:

Terri O’ConnellFinding Our Ancestors

Debi AustenWho Knew

Stephanie Pitcher FishmanCorn and Cotton

I also have an “Honorable Mention” list. Not that these great readers don’t deserve the award but they have already received it! Yet I want them to know how very grateful I am that they take the time to read my blog and comment.

Mariann S. ReganInto the Briar Patch
Elizabeth Potts – She doesn’t have a blog but reads mine!
Shelley BishopA Sense of Family
Jana LastJana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Thank you again Mariann for your nomination and to all who read my blog. I appreciate your support and comments! The genealogy community is very helpful and supportive. I’m so lucky to be a part of it! Thank you!

Have a social media presence while you’re busy being social this holiday season!

Crowded Christmas Mall -  Photo courtesy of Morrhigan at stock.xchng.com

Crowded Christmas Mall – Photo courtesy of Morrhigan at stock.xchng.com

Oh the holidays! The fun of family get-togethers, food, parties, decorating, shopping and the list goes on and on and on! Now juggle that with your job, your blog, writing, researching, let alone keeping up with your social media accounts. It’s enough to make you throw your hands in the air and run screaming from the room until January 1st. Don’t laugh. I did just that last year!

Not that I have the answer to creating more hours in the day during December but I have come across a handy-dandy little item that you might use to help with your social media presence.

If you use a WordPress theme on your blog, I’ve got a plug-in for you!! Tweetily.

Tweetily downloaded to your WordPress site will randomly tweet past blog posts. You have the option to decide how many times a day Tweetily sends out a post, you can include hash tags, exclude certain posts, add links, etc. You can even dictate the time frame of posts to be tweeted.

You have a lot of valuable information in past blog posts that gets buried as new posts are written. Tweetily puts those forgotten posts back in circulation allowing your readers a chance at some well written tips or techniques. It refreshes our memory on research help you wrote about or a brick wall that finally came tumbling down. It’s a given we’re not all on Twitter at the same time so a random tweet reminds us to visit your website.

Also if your Twitter account is already linked to your Facebook page, that randomly tweeted blog post will be posted on Facebook as well. Your followers will get your message on either of these social media platforms.

Try Tweetily. It will help in giving you a social media presence while you’re busy being social this holiday season.

P.S. I’m aware of Tweetily because I use WordPress. If you’re using a similar app let us know in the comments. I’m sure it will be helpful to someone else. Thanks!

Are You Mobile? Better Yet is your Genealogy Website Mobile Ready?

Genealogy Circle on a smart phone

Genealogy Circle on a smart phone

Recently I wrote a blog post about my occasional help with The In-Depth Genealogist Facebook page. A couple months ago I asked the question: “How often would you like to see the blogs you read updated? Are you disappointed when it’s only once or twice a week?”

The topic generated several answers, some offline discussion and although not scientific, I thought the outcome interesting enough to share it with you. You can read that post here.

I put a similar topic out for discussion a couple weeks ago. “Many articles I’ve read lately point out that increasingly people now use their smart phones w/internet more than laptops or tablets. Do you check blogs, Facebook, twitter, etc. more on your smart phone than on your laptop or tablet?”

The answer to my question was nearly unanimous. No!

Those who do use smart phones check their email and their Facebook page on their phones but they leave blog reading until they’re at home with their laptop. Only one responder said they had even looked at a blog on their phone.

Wow! Although my survey isn’t scientific in the least, I was curious as to why the response to my question was opposite of the articles I’ve been reading. It could be that my audience, all genealogists, were a generation older that those tabbed in the articles. Yet was that the entire explanation?

Personally I Continue reading

Blog posts: When is enough – enough?

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

I help out with The In-Depth Genealogist facebook page. Yes, some of those quirky questions come from me! Many questions are fun and some are thought-provoking regarding our genealogy research. My hope is to get us thinking. Who knows what new ideas we may come up with and what problems we may solve when we delve a little deeper?

A couple of months ago I asked the question: “How often would you like to see the blogs you read updated? Are you disappointed when it’s only once or twice a week?”

The topic generated several answers, some offline discussion and although not scientific, I thought the outcome interesting enough to share it with you.

Everyone that commented said they check several blogs a day and many more over a week’s time. This speaks to the quality of genealogy blogs on the web! There is a lot of educational and insightful writing being posted in the genealogy cyberworld. Readers are anxious to get it. The respondents generally agreed they found most blog posts come on Mondays and Wednesdays. A couple of replies suggested posting on other days of the week. By publishing new blog posts on days other than Monday and Wednesday the genealogy reading public would be able to enjoy fresh reading material throughout the week. Perhaps a good thought to keep in mind.

Yet the single most important idea I came away with Continue reading