Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Friday, December 20, 2013

How to use this and any other blog site

Like many other blogs, this particular one has a specific theme. I currently write for five different blogs, most under my own name and one for an organization. All of my blog posts provide either information or commentary. Blogs are not strictly "social networking" websites, they are more closely related to traditional newspaper columns. The comments to blogs could be compared to letters to the editor in a traditional newspaper environment. Obviously, because of the interactive nature of online communities, blogs tend to be more immediate and current than newspapers.

Whenever blogs are mentioned in the traditional media, they seem to emphasize the fact that the bloggers are not professional journalists. There is an unspoken criticism that somehow blogs are inferior to print publications simply because of the nature of the contributors. Now it is true, that I do not have any formal training in journalism. I began my writing experience as a reporter for my university newspaper. For short time, I was the editor of a newspaper at the University of Utah. I was an editor of the Arizona State University Law School newspaper for a year during law school. I have written books, articles and tens of thousands of pages of legal briefs and I have a wife, a former English teacher, who tries to correct my grammar, punctuation and content. I give these examples to show that a blanket dismissal of blogs and blog writers is a somewhat dangerous position to take. This is especially true since blogs are, for many purposes, replacing traditional newspaper involvement throughout the world. Most of our nation's newspapers are struggling to maintain a readership and most have moved online. Many newspapers now rely on those same bloggers that they denigrate.

It is true, that the quality of the writing varies considerably from blog to blog. But each blog provides a unique insight into the writer's view of genealogy. You may choose not to participate in the greater genealogical community, but that is your loss. One good example of the use of blogs is the upcoming RootsTech 2014 Conference where bloggers are included as the official media representatives.

Now you could search for a long time in traditional news outlets for information about genealogy. In fact, it is very rare that anything having to do with genealogy makes it into the national news. One of the few places I have seen any consistent mention of genealogical events or articles of interest has been in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. This is not surprising since the Deseret News is located in Salt Lake City, Utah and is ultimately owned by by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I fully realize that the majority of the genealogists that I encounter each week go about their activities blithely ignorant of the fact that there is a genealogical community online. But from my own experience, my persistence in writing a blog has very slowly, over the years, begun to make inroads into that lack of awareness. The present blog is no exception. Obviously, my readership for this particular blog is far less than Genealogy's Star. But in this case, my motivation for writing this blog is somewhat different.

Genealogists who ignore blogs and other online resources are like people who shop in the same store day after day year after year. They may have created a comfort zone but have no idea what they are missing.

This blog arises out of my perception that there is a serious disconnect between the members of the various Wards of the Church and the greater genealogical community. I started this blog for the specific purpose of addressing a Latter-day Saint audience about genealogy.

This blog and many others is not like a flyer that you read and throw away. It is more like a reference book with chapters being added daily. To properly use a blog you need to refer back to previous articles. It is true, that some of the material in this or any other blog may go out of date, but most of the material retains its value for a considerable period of time.

When you discover a new blog, go back through the archives of that blog and look for articles of interest. When you search online for information about your ancestors include the word "blog" as part of your search terms and you may find articles of interest.

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