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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Blog Post -- The Research Wiki is still a topic

Back on 21 November 2008, I posted my first Genealogy's Star blog post entitled, "Check out the FamilySearch Wiki." It was pretty terrible. Thinking back, I believe that the main problem was that I didn't realize I was writing to real people. I had almost no experience at the time with the interactive nature of the online world. I had never seen or attended a Webinar. I had no real experience with Skye, Facebook and, of course, Google+. I had never met another genealogy blogger and had read very, very few genealogy blog posts. I had even less experience with my topic, the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

If I remember correctly, the Research Wiki only had about 800 or so articles. But on reflection, it might have been nice if I had been a little more expressive about why the Research Wiki was an important resource. It was like I was afraid to say anything back then. Today, the Research Wiki is almost an all consuming passion with me (balanced, of course, against all the other genealogy stuff I am involved in). I guess I regret that none of that passion was evident in my early blog posts. With over 61,000 articles and a whole world of information, the Research Wiki is an entirely different type of resource than it was back in 2008. I would hope that my blog posts have come down the road a piece since then also.

One feature of both the Research Wiki and blog posts is their immediacy. Once you have entered your ideas into the computer, one click of the mouse sends that post on the blog or wiki out to the world. I can imagine that many people are not comfortable with immediately losing control. However, in both venues the immediacy is mostly an illusion. I can spend all the time I like developing a blog post or writing content for the Research Wiki before publishing the information to the world. But if you are going to do much posting, you will soon learn that retrospection is severely limited. You basically have to learn to live with what you write.

In the case of the Research Wiki there is a whole hierarchy of moderators and support volunteers that maintain the integrity of the content. In the case of blog posts, I have my whole readership that is more than willing to correct me if I slip up. Fortunately, my readers are more generous with my grammar and word choice and make few comments unless my mistakes are misleading.

Back to that first blog post. I now feel really bad that I didn't spend some time with a little more expression of enthusiasm for the Research Wiki. At that time the Research Wiki sort-of blended into the background of the rest of the online resources such as RootsWeb and Cyndi's List. Let's take Cyndi's List as an example. Checking on that website today shows that she has 307,865 links in 186 categories with 7881 uncatagorized links. Since those early days, the Research Wiki has grown into a major resource.

But here are some interesting details. On the Alexa website for web information, FamilySearch.org is ranked 8,595 globally among all websites. But the Research Wiki only get 1.5% of that total traffic with FamilySearch.org getting between 8000 and up to 10,000 visitors a day. Quantcast.com shows the Research Wiki site with about 12,000 visitors per day and FamilySearch.org with about 150,000. Interesting that the statistics from the two sites are so different. Quantcast seems to agree with Google Analytics so I usually go with Quantcast.

It looks like both my blog and the Research Wiki have a lot of room to grow.

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