Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FGS Day 1 - Officially

It's finally, officially here: FGS 2013! As the official kick-off got underway, we were treated to an opening session by Cyndi Ingle Howells of Cyndi's List. She was speaking of today's challenges and necessities for online presence success, all while reminiscing about the early days of online efforts. So, just to be clear, no music or flashing Cyndi put it, "background music on websites is SO 1998 - just don't do it!" It was clear to everyone that things have changed dramatically since Cyndi pioneered her staple of the genealogy field....and we were again amazed at the changes ahead. As Societies, it is imperative that we follow her advice to impact more lives, survive, and maximize engagement. Great lessons from an amazing online pioneer - we thank her for her many years of hard work!

Since today was a focus on societies, the issues followed an administrative pattern. The thing is, we all need to adopt this broader mindset. We should all become outward thinkers....adopting, or at least thinking about issues that influence the big picture. While most have missions in place, that staple should be maintained by the healthy habit of evaluating what we are doing to follow said missions. Much of the session content I attended today revolved around publishing and social media. Ironically, both are inevitably intertwined. While publishing would appear to be a different medium, it too is evolving into virtual/online formats. With that transition to an electronic venue, the publications then become easier to promote within the new social media tools that we all must master. So....the more we learn about social media and the quicker we utilize it within the many functions of our society, the greater the overall impact of our society! Which also translates to: we, as a society live to see another day! Yes, that is the message being spread....societies are struggling, but those who can adapt are actually growing and thriving!

Some other tips I picked up from the sessions I attended today (not every session I attended):
First of all: If you see this paparazzi pointing at! She has an itchy and lightning trigger finger!

Cyndi Ingle Howells: 
(Website creation) Don't forget to let people know where you are! There may be many counties with an identical name - just different states.
Red print on websites makes for specific visual challenges - don't do it!
Provide unique content that also changes to keep people coming back to your site.

Tina Lyons: 
Consistent naming/branding along all social media platforms is a must for every society! 
Learn about various social media tools on a personal level FIRST before using it for your society.
Make sure you use the society e-mail address to set up accounts....not someone's personal account that cannot be accessed by any other administrators.
Try not to bore or confuse your audience/visitors.

Rachel Popma:
Mine other organizations for great authors...especially professional/trade organizations.
Make submission guidelines and author agreements visible for potential authors.
Self esteem issues prevent many from may need to cultivate or encourage a lot to get a submission.

George Morgan:
Partner with local libraries for programming/project partnerships.
Learn your library catalog FULLY or you will miss something in the collection! If you need a librarian to teach your group how to navigate the catalog properly - DO IT!
Utilize Special Interest Groups to diversify your programming and outreach..

The daily activities were capped off by a lovely event hosted by Find My Past: Social at the Botanical Gardens!
Despite the long lines and weary, hungry attendees, the event was a fun way to meet up with colleagues and friends. The gardens are beautiful and the music was a fun addition to the festive food and drink. Here are a few photos from the event.

Wow, OK, I think I'm done for today - exhibit hall opens tomorrow!! See everyone in the morning!!



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