There are a wide array of social networking services that are now available online that can be used by genealogists to share information, photos, and videos with family, friends, and other researchers.
You may want to incorporate some of these powerful new tools into your family history research if you not already utilizing them:
- Collaborative Editing
- Genealogy-Specific Social Networks
- General Social Networking (Facebook)
- Message Boards and Mailing Lists
Message boards are online forums where each message is posted to the board. Users can choose to receive notifications when items are posted to boards of interest. Message boards are also searchable.
- Photos and Video Sharing
The first photo sharing sites originated during the mid to late 1990s primarily from services providing online ordering of prints (photo finishing), but many more came into being during the early 2000s with the goal of providing permanent and centralized access to a user's photos, and in some cases video clips too. Webshots, SmugMug, Yahoo! Photos and Flickr were among the first.
- RSS Feeds
RSS solves a problem for people who regularly use the web. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually. You ensure your privacy, by not needing to join each site's email newsletter.
- Sharing Personal Libraries
Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a photo to make it easier to find later. You can tag a photo with phrases like "catherine yosemite hiking mountain trail." Later if you look for pictures of Catherine, you can just click that tag and get all photos that have been tagged that way.
You may also have the right to add tags to your friends' photos, if your friends set that option in the privacy settings for their photos.
- Virtual Worlds
We’ve all learned things as we’ve researched our family history – how to research in specific places, where to find and how to use certain kinds of sources, how culture, ethnicity, and occupation can provide additional leads, etc. Why should people starting out have to learn these same lessons all over again? What if there was a way for you to share what you’ve learned with others – giving them the benefit of your experience as they start out?
It seems that if we make family history research easier for beginners to get involved in, then more people will take it up as an interest, which benefits everyone. More people doing family history means more people available to transcribe records, greater incentive for business to provide better software and access to information.