With the help of RootsTech
and FamilySearch.org, I had the honor and privilege to interview Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of the Scotland-based company brightsolid. Brightsolid
is the parent company of the genealogy sites Find My Past UK, Find My Past IE, Find My Past AU, Genes Reunited, Scotland's People, The British Newspaper Archive, 1901 Census Online, and 1911 Census. Additionally, they're entering the American market right now with CensusRecords.com
and later in the year with Find My Past US.So, try out CensusRecords.com and see how you like it. And? Let them know how you like it. They really want to know what you think.Mr. van der Kuyl was an incredible interviewee who made my job very easy, which I am extremely thankful for.Enjoy!~C
If unable to view the video here, below is the direct link to it on YouTube:http://youtu.be/v7_61jhtxkM
Sometimes the Best Stuff is the Stuff You Don't Plan
I had a FAN-tabulous time at RootsTech
this year. As I mentioned before, what I did do wasn't what I'd thought I'd be doing.It was WAY better! Thanks to FamilySearch, I was able to interview a whole slew of genie people. It was an incredible opportunity for me and many, many thanks go to FamilySearch and Paul Nauta for allowing me access to such fascinating people.Like I mentioned previously, I only attended 1 full session and I attempted 2 others.
When I was planning out the sessions to attend prior to RootsTech, I noticed that there weren't many sessions on the User side that interested me due to their level of content. I had picked out some Developer classes to attend, but was lured away from my schedule with interviews, and I gladly went. Hello!?! Interviewed Chris van der Kuyl, the CEO of brightsolid
AND Nick Barratt from the Family History Show
. Trust me, it was no sacrifice. [And don't tell me you wouldn't have done the same. ;) ]So, I can't tell you my experiences from sessions because I only went to one, which happened to be about Gamification and Family History ~ a developer session presented by, um, Chris van der Kuyl. I promise I wasn't stalking him. I've a legitimate interest in gamification. Can't you see the 48 Hour Ephemera Challenge Forum gamified? I can, but I digress...Several of my fellow geneabloggers [Linda & Jenna] expressed that they wished that
there had been more technology in the exhibit hall. I agree. Jenna mentioned that there was a bunch of software but no gadgets to play with. Totally agree with her on that one. Personally, I can look and play with software and databases online. A majority of them offer free trials online where I can try them out in the comfort of my home, not in a loud exhibit hall with a busy exhibitor. It would have been nice to play with some tech gadgets. Take them on a test run. FlipPal was there and people were playing [and buying] FlipPals. What I Think Would Be Cool For Next YearI have a confession to make. I used to teach Children's Church at our old church. And I found it tough to teach my own kids, especially my son. You see, my son is a "doer learner"
. He doesn't learn well if he's just sitting there doing nothing. His hands need to be busy. He prefers to move around. And he doesn't usually make eye contact. All sure signs that he's not paying attention, right?It was exasperating as a mother and a teacher. I felt like a failure because I couldn't even control my own kid. Finally, one Sunday he'd been extra busy in the room. So, I decided to ask him a question or two just to make my point that he needed to sit down, be still, and just listen. And when I asked him the first question, he answered my question beautifully, and, in fact, verbatim. Then I asked the second question. This time something that required his opinion. And what came out of his mouth
was remarkably insightful for an elementary kid.That's when I learned that I needed to sit down, be still, and just listen.I needed to let him move around. To keep his hands busy. To learn on his terms. To just do.And what does this have to with RootsTech? Well, in my experience with technology and computers, I've found the best way to learn it, is to jump right in and do.
That is, to learn by doing.I know the workshops were a hit this year because they sold out so quickly, which signaled something for me.So much so that I'd like to propose something, if I may. I'd like to see more workshops than lectures at RootsTech. More hands on stuff in the exhibit hall but also in the sessions. I don't learn much when I'm sitting there in a too hot/too cold overcrowded/standing-room-only classroom-like room with a speaker up front with a carefully laid out Power Point presentation.Further, I'd like to see workshops on all levels ~ beginner, intermediate, and advanced ~ teaching us all something by doing. To have moderators & teachers guiding us, not lec
turing or presenting. It's really not what they know about the subject. Nope. It's what they can show me how to do.After all, people don't fork over gobs of money and time to to be talked to. They go to learn. And in this case, they go to learn
how technology can help them research and share their genealogy. Let me repeat that. They go to learn how technology can help them research and share their
genealogy.What part of that statement says 'sit down, be still, and just listen'?None of it.It says 'do'.~Caroline
I totally had an unplan plan for RootsTech. Then I arrived at Rootstech.Then I chunked my unplan plan for another unplan.
And I ended up doing interviews and only attended 1 full session. But? I have 7 interviews to share with y'all.Video Interviews
- David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer FamilySearch
- Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of brightsolid
- Don Anderson, Worldwide Project Manager FamilySearch
- Jeff Wells, Founder of Family Village
- Nick Barratt, Family History Show
So, as I get these interviews ready for sharing, here's some pics I managed to take in between those interviews and that 1 session I attended.
- Jimmy Zimmerman, Grand Prize Winner of the Developer Challenge
- Stan Kivett, Religious Education at BYU - Idaho
And? Keep an eye out for other attendees' photos. I remember smiling for people. A lot. ;)~Caroline
Home Screen of Rootstech App on my iPhone.
The Rootstech 2012 App is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android.What can you do with the app?I just took a quick look, but here's what I found:
- Create and keep your conference schedule.
- Refer to the Exhibit Hall map and the Salt Palace map.
- Refer to Developer, User Events, or All Events.
- Refer to Speaker Bios.
- Consult Conference PDF documents for additional conference information.
- View conference photo gallery.
- Watch conference-related videos that are already found in the app.
- Access, view, and tweet from the app. [It's like they had me in mind when they added this one. LOL.]
- Make friends / contacts and connect with them through the app.
- Access the RSS feed for official conference news.
Did I get everything? I dunno. I'm going to go play with it.The app is available for the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad in the App Store on your device or I found it here: http://www.ifreeware.net/download-rootstech-2012.html
Also the app is available for Android in the Android Market
The Bump app on my iPhone.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could exchange contact info at Rootstech without worrying about business cards?
Wouldn't it be nice if I took this awesome photo at Rootstech & I was able to share it with you quickly and almost effortlessly?Wouldn't it be nice if I could, like, quickly share with you at Rootstech this great app that could help you
find more of your dead people efficiently so you don't have to find it online to download?Wouldn't it be nice if I could quickly share with you at Rootstech an event from my calendar
?Wouldn't it be nice if we could quickly connect on Twitter, Facebook, and
LinkedIn?Guess what!?! We can With the Bump App. Take a look:
Did you see how happy everyone was when they Bumped? I wanna be that happy at Rootstech. Don't you? I want to Bump at Rootstech. Don't you? I've had it on my iPhone since right after I first bought my iPhone, but I noticed at our conferences nobody Bumps. Why don't we Bump? Don't we want to be happy at Rootstech like they are in the Bump video? [Bump. Smile.]
The Bump app is available for the iPhone, iPhone Touch, iPad, and Android. Now, not all the newest features of the Bump app are on the Android version, but they're working on that. The contact info is definitely on there.
And? An iPhone can Bump with an Android phone too. That's right the Bumping is cross platform.
And? It's free.
They even have a short Bump video for the iPhone:
And a short Bump video for the Android:
For more detailed information, take a look at their Frequently Asked Questions page
So download it. For iOS, get it from iTunes or App Store
, and for Android, get it from the Android Market
.Fill-in your contact info.Then let's Bump at Rootstech.So we can be happy.
[Bump. Smile.]~Caroline[Note: I am not affiliated with Bump Technologies nor was I asked to review their app. I just wanna get happy and bump at Rootstech. For more disclosure information please visit my Disclosure Page.]
The 2nd Annual Rootstech conference will be held 2 Feb 2012 through 4 Feb 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah."Why should I go?" you might ask. "Give me 10 good reasons I should go, Caroline. And I said good."Okay. I'll give you 10 good reasons you should attend Rootstech 2012:
So. There you go. My 10 good reasons why you should go to Rootstech. It's not to late to register. Visit Rootstech2012's website for more details about registering and the speaker schedule. I'm going. Will I see you there?
- To attend all the great lectures that are on the schedule that will be given by even greater speakers. Learn genealogy research tips, research strategies, be entertained, and tackle that word, 'technology'.
- Speaking of technology, learn how technology can help you in your research and learn which technology is best for you and your situation.
- Get out of cooking, cleaning your house, and doing the laundry. [Seriously? This needs no further explanation.]
- Score: Brick walls, 150. You, 4-1/2? Take a well-deserved break so that you can go back to your brick walls with a sledgehammer. Stop thinking about beating them down. Come learn how to beat them down then go back home and do it.
- Get away from your family. Yes, it's ironic. We research family. The dead ones drive us nuts, but so do the living ones. They don't want to listen to our stories about the dead ones. They look at us as if we're crazy. [And they're probably right. Normal people don't usually talk to dead people and get mad at them.] But sometimes you need to take a break, recharge those batteries, and meet folks like yourself who want to listen to your romps through your family tree. Then after getting it out of your system, you go back rejuvenated for your family.
- Remember all that fuss about book vendors? Yeah. Come support them. Buy a book.
- To watch the season premiere of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? with a bunch of genealogists. [Can you just see that?]
- Meet the vendors of all these companies you see advertised all over the place on the internet. Ask them questions. They want to meet and talk to you. [Plus, quite a few of them give stuff away and some even have free chocolates on their booth table. Chocolate, anyone? Calories don't exist at Rootstech. Did you know that?]
- To go to the Family History Library! Come see where all that microfilm you order comes from. Perform research. Wallow in its genealogy-ness. And I promise you there won't be anyone telling you that you're spending too much time in the library, asking you what's for dinner, or telling you that they just aren't going to go into that library. Nope. You're gonna be around genealogists. Folks just like you. [How do you like them apples?]
- If you live in a warmer climate, come to Rootstech for a change of weather. Cooler weather. I've looked at the 10-day forecast on Weather.com and I've checked their monthly weather planner. It indicates the high's average in the low 40s and the lows average in the high 20s during Rootstech. For some, that would be a refreshing change of pace. So, there's that.
[Psst. They have a special right now on registration, $149. After Friday, 13 Jan 2012, it will go back up to the regular price of $189.]~CarolineNote: I am in no way affiliated with Rootstech or FamilySearch.org. I just think we're gonna have a good time, and I'd like to see you there.
[Note: Updates to this blog post are in bold, and please read the comments following the blog post for more information. Thank you.]
I’m very pleased to hear that Rootstech has reconsidered their decision of not allowing book vendors to exhibit at Rootstech 2012. While this is their conference and they certainly have every right to design it in the way that they want, I think this is an excellent decision. And here’s why:
- Not only are you missing out on direct revenue from booth rentals, all indirect revenue realized from the vendors is lost as well, and not just for the conference itself but for the local businesses.
- Genealogy-based books can be technologically based and printed books make a perfect bridge for the non-tech genealogists to cross over into the tech world. It’s a familiar medium.
- Some book publishers have electronic books. Those who do not electronically publish could possibly learn why they should be doing so. [And I fully believe they should.]
- As far as the arts and crafts vendors are concerned, I know I couldn’t do my heritage arts and crafts without technology, and I’m sure prospective arts and crafts vendors are the same way. Further, I use technology to share with my readers how to make the heritage crafts. [However, I don’t know if they’re being invited or not as some of the book vendors are.]
- Any successful conference in any industry knows its target demographics. After all, this is basic salesmanship. In order to get the target conference-goer to come to the conference, you must be offering something that they want, which in this case is education and exhibits. I think your target demographics have spoken up this past weekend to let you know what kind of exhibits they are not only wanting but expecting.
- In this tough economy, most conference-goers are having to make difficult choices as to how to spend their allotted genealogy money. Many can only afford one major conference. When making this decision, they will have to make tough choices between conferences that don’t welcome technology and a conference like Rootstech that is choosing to concentrate on technology as it pertains to genealogy. Both conference models are fine, but you must understand that there are consequences to every action, positive or negative. Further, I believe the main complaint at genealogy conferences is the lack of technology [education as well as the acceptance of the usage of technology]– not that there was too much genealogy. [Is there such a thing?] The need in our genealogy community is an acceptance of both genealogy and technology.
So, thank you Rootstech for listening and being flexible with your plans. Many are very grateful. Social Media
However, I have been surprised by the lack of usage of social media for the promotion of Rootstech 2012. As far as I can tell, there have been only 4 main
ways that have been used to advertise this conference:
I am not an Official Rootstech blogger, but I have blogged and promoted Rootstech on Twitter as well as placed the Rootstech media banners on my site.
However, blogs and a Facebook page are just two social media platforms out of many that can be used to promote a conference. Now, I know that several of the official bloggers have and use twitter accounts, but that is not a complete social media plan.
I cannot express enough how useful Twitter can be in this kind of promotion, and it has been ignored. The last time I checked the Rootstech Facebook page, there were 1040 Likes. That’s a low number for a conference that had over 3000 attendees last year and with less than 2 months left before the start of the next conference. I only ‘liked’ the page recently simply because I don’t spend much time on Facebook. I don’t prefer it. The majority of my social networking occurs on Twitter, and I’ve recently have been engaging on Google Plus.
I have, at the time of this writing, 3973 followers on Twitter and I follow 4361 Tweeters. Most are genealogy-related, but not all. I also network heavily with mom bloggers, authors, writers, self-published authors, and tech-related tweeters. Some have even expressed an interest in genealogy at times. All are heavily into technology to complete the work that they do. It makes a fantastic demographic to target for a conference such as Rootstech
And I’ve only shared with you my stats. There are others with very high stats on Twitter that could be leveraged to assist Rootstech in their marketing endeavors. All who have varied followers based upon different interests.
Below is what I had expected in terms of social media for a conference such as Rootstech:
[Update: Rootstech does have a Twitter account, @RootsTechConf. However, it only has 20 followers (I just started following them), has no tweets, does not follow any tweeters, and has no lists. In addition, I could not find a link on the Rootstech website to the Twitter account. So, please, follow them.]
- Having a dedicated social media person or a coordinated group of persons to manage all social media accounts at all times so that questions and concerns can be addressed immediately as is expected in social media. Because of social media, we live in a '24/7' type of world now.
- Growing the Facebook Page’s ‘Likes’ number. The whole point of having a Facebook page is so that people can like, and or follow, the page thus creating a community. Once this is done, the entity who runs the page would have access, and or influence, to this community for both direct marketing purposes as well as for creating excitement over the reason the page was created in the first place. In this case, of course, that’s Rootstech 2012. This is a great place to foster discussions on genealogy and technology. Getting people to think about it will get a certain percentage of them to register and go to the conference. Engagement is key, and of course, if your Facebook page fans share the page, then some of the work is being done for you.
- Creating a Twitter account and growing the follow/follower numbers and engaging other tweeters to create a sense of community so that they will willingly retweet your tweets. To be successful at Twitter, an organization has to not only broadcast its message [in this case the Rootstech conference] but engage other tweeters in short discussions. Because this conference is centered around both genealogy and technology, you’re in luck because both topics have a big following on Twitter. How can this be helpful in marketing Rootstech? After all, doesn’t everyone who has a Twitter account also have a Facebook account? No, not always, and even if the tweeter does have both accounts, they may prefer one over the other. Also, tweets can easily be categorized by topics, giving a unique ability to tweeters to target very specific interests and groups. All of these Twitter qualities can be used effectively for growing excitement, anticipation, and interest in a conference like Rootstech. How? Well, let’s say the social media person for Rootstech tweets something informational with a link to the Rootstech site to its 1689 followers [Update: This was and is a fictional number. Rootstech does have a Twitter account with only 20 followers.], and I happen to be on Twitter, and because I follow them, I see it, and decide to tweet it to my 3973 followers. Let’s say for this example that I had one follower who retweeted my Rootstech retweet, and this follower themselves had 2567 followers. Now, the single Rootstech informational tweet with a link back to the website that was tweeted by the dedicated Tweeter for Rootstech, has, with 2 more clicks, touched 8229 tweeters, and has moved 2 people to the action of retweeting. With these numbers, odds are, a certain percentage of these 8229 tweeters will retweet the informational tweet with a link to the Rootstech site, a certain percentage will be moved to the action of clicking on the link, and, of course, a certain amount will be moved to the desired action of registering for the Rootstech conference. This is why Twitter is a very effective social network. [Sorry for the math word problem. What was I thinking?]
- While creating a Google Plus page is a newer ability on a newer social network, a certain percentage of people prefer Google Plus over Facebook and Twitter. It provides a place to foster longer discussions. In my experience on Google Plus, many genealogy technology discussions are taking place over there that a conference like Rootstech should be, at the very least, monitoring [and it may very well already be]. Goals here should be to increase numbers of circles and numbers of followers in circles and engaging these followers in lively discussions of genealogy and technology. Moreover, with the Hangout video chat capability that is available on Google Plus, many of these discussions could be taking place using this technology and involving some of the scheduled speakers or Rootstech organizers all year long.
- Creating a dedicated YouTube channel for Rootstech would be extremely helpful. While there are 4 taped presentations on video from last year’s conference parked on Brightcove.com, this platform isn’t a social network like YouTube, and because YouTube is owned by Google, YouTube videos naturally find themselves at the top of search results. These 4 videos [and any other others that can be used for marketing purposes] should be on YouTube on a Rootstech YouTube channel. While there are many videos about Rootstech that were made by conference attendees last year on YouTube, when a person goes to YouTube and searches for Rootstech [or searches for it in Google],the Rootstech YouTube channel should come up first in the search results. This provides uniformity in the marketing of the brand that you have so diligently created. The social media aspects of YouTube cannot be ignored either and must be monitored. Engagement with followers and the goals of increasing followers, friending, and subscribing must be made, met, and exceeded for a technology-based conference such as Rootstech.
- A blog is definitely an effective social media tool, and I think it’s excellent that Rootstech has Official Bloggers for this conference. However, I think it’s essential that Rootstech have its own blog. Using Official Bloggers is an excellent way to get the word out to each of the Official Blogger’s readers, but what about those readers who don’t read their blogs? Rootstech should be creating and controlling their brand by using a blog format. I think a perfect example of a conference using a blog is FGS. These were simple posts all in one place in a technological format that many feel comfortable with reading where they could go to find updates on the conference. Blogs are like websites, and if a person doesn’t use Facebook or Google Plus, these conference-goers or potential conference-goers need and expect a conference on technology to have a blog. It’s also a great place for conference press releases and fostering community through the comments part of the blog.
- LinkedIn is a professional social networking site where many genealogists and technologists network, and this is why Rootstech should have a presence there as well. Again, Rootstech should be controlling its brand on major social media networks. Here discussions can be fostered as well. In fact, there are many discussions occurring on LinkedIn already about genealogy and technology. At the very least, Rootstech should be monitoring them, but the goal should be to be driving those discussions. While there are several in my LinkedIn network that have added Rootstech2012 as an event, I did not see an official Rootstech 2012 Group started over there, but perhaps I missed it.
- Foursquare is a social networking app that has been used in the past at conferences for facilitating networking. Here are some websites that discuss the ins and outs of using it at conferences: How To: Use Foursquare for a Conference (or an exhibit booth) and How Foursquare Rocks Conferences.
- Shhmooze is a social networking app designed for conferences and here’s a 3 part series written by Shhmooze on their blog about their app.
[Note: Of course, Foursquare and/or Shhmooze –they can be used together- would be promoted on the Rootstech blog and other social media outlets. Everyone would need to learn how they'd be used and how to use them.
Using social media effectively can really boost a conference’s attendance and brand, and it also allows a conference to show its potential conference-goers and the conference-goers that it does have a handle on the topic of the actual conference. By using social media technology, Rootstech can increase its attendance and popularity as well as send out the message that it knows how to combine genealogy and technology successfully. Social media would also allow Rootstech to efficiently monitor its brand and deal with any public relations matters that may come up before they get out of hand.What do y'all think? Did I miss any important social networks?
Did I miss Rootstech on a social network? Let me know in comments below. And if I've missed something, please let me know.I'm still going to Rootstech 2012. Hello?!? Technology and genealogy? That's what I do.
[Of course, I read books about technology and I use technology to make my heritage arts and crafts. And then I tell you all about it on that new fangled technology call social media.]~Caroline
Who: You're Invited!! [Really. You are. In fact, everyone is invited.]What: Rootstech 2012 is a totally unique family history and technology conference.Where: Salt Lake City, UTWhen: February 2nd - 4th, 2012.And? I'll be there. [Really. I will.]Hurry!! The early bird registration deadline price of $129 is Nov 30th. After Nov 30th, registrations jumps to $189.Check out their really cool and very professional video [unlike mine] below.
And check out their very official and informative Rootstech 2012 website
.~CarolinePlease note that I am NOT affiliated with Rootstech 2012 in any way whatsoever. This is like a public service announcement, or something. I just heard that last year's first ever Rootstech was AWESOME, and so, like, I'm going 'cause I like awesome places. Hello!?! Family history and technology. It doesn't get any more awesome than that, right? *wink* Therefore, if you click a link to the Rootstech 2012 conference, it just means you're going to go check out their website. That's it. I'm receiving nothing from promoting it. Well, if you do choose to go to Rootstech 2012, then I'll get a chance to meet you. And? To me, that's priceless.