Monday, September 23, 2019

Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies

April 15, 2011 by  
Filed under genealogy

RootsTech 2011, February 10 -12. Salt Lake City


An interview by Josh McHugh of Forbes with entrepreneur and AllTop owner Guy Kawasaki got me thinking about social media influence.

Back in the olden days (all  of 3 or 4 years ago) when Twitter and Facebook were fairly new you might get a reply from one of the big Influencers on the net.  Not any more.   Try to pitch a product and get a mention by an Influencer with a million followers these days…well, it simply isn’t going to happen.

Kawasaki’s recent book Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions talks  about getting things done in life that require the cooperation of others.

He proposes that the Nobodies are the New Somebodies.

You know…You and Me...the Nobodies with maybe a thousand twitter followers (if we are lucky) , a little blog, a few hundred Facebook followers and a network of online friends.

Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies

We are the New Somebodies.  Yes, in our industry we Genea-Bodies are the New Somebodies.

Why?  Because a Nobody could become Some Project’s biggest cheerleader.

Just look at the royal treatment the Official Bloggers received at Rootstech. (I was one).  Jay Verkler, Anne Roach, Paul Nuata et al knew what they were doing when they engaged the Genea-Bodies.

We Genea-Bodies have a voice.  A collective voice.  A passionate voice.  And we talk about our passion.

We blogged and tweeted and Facebooked our little hearts out about Rootstech.  Because we wanted to; because we felt the cause was warranted.

And in part, because we had been noticed.  We had a job to do.  We were reporting on Rootstech!

And not just the official bloggers, but all of us Genea-Bodies. We became Rootstech’s biggest cheerleaders because we cared and we were engaged.

As Josh McHugh in the Forbes article so aptly states:

“It turns out that celebrating your project’s most enthusiastic fans regardless of their influence scores and making them the stars of the community has the flattering (though ancillary) side effect of – you guessed it – eventually raising the influence scores of everyone involved.”


What are you thoughts on this topic?  Please leave your comments below.

UPDATE: 80+ comments and counting! The thread morphed from Genea-Bodies influence to making money  as genealogists.  I suggest readers check out Thomas MacEntee’s excellent series of posts on Genea-Opportunities:  Let’s Make Lots of Money

Greta of Greta’s Genealogy Bog has created a comprehensive list of the various blog posts that arose out of the discussion.



85 Responses to “Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies”
  1. Amy Coffin says:

    I look at all genealogy products, concepts and “shiny objects” with a skeptical eye, but my trust can be and has been won over by a handful of companies. These people had a practical product, great service, provided accessibility to persons of influence in the company, and showed a sincere interest in my opinion.

    Bloggers are going to talk about genealogy. Smart vendors make sure they’re part of the conversation.

    Give me sincerity, honesty, transparency, accessibility and a good product that enhances my genealogy experience and I will sing your praises on my blog until the cows come home.
    Amy Coffin´s last [type] ..Fun with Search Terms

  2. Hi Amy,
    Well said! My sentiments exactly.

    Thanks for commenting.


  3. Kerry Scott says:

    Exactly. EXACTLY.

    Blogs are not going away, and we’re not out to hurt anyone. We’re all on the same team here. There’s no reason we can’t work together (well, unless your product sucks…but even then, using blogs to get feedback can help you un-suck it).

  4. Geniaus says:

    For this opinionated little Granny from downunder to have a voice is an honour and a responsibility. Social networking tools have made this possible.

    I took my role as an official Rootstech blogger and tweeter very seriously and hopefully my contributions assisted in getting the news out about this fantastic event. My blog statistics were certainly up during February.

    Evaluation is an important part of any process; social networking tools facilitate evaluation that could not previously occur. The ability of Genea-Bodies to contribute to conversation on all facets of genealogy is empowering. I can voice my opinion, be noticed and take part in discourse with others….and some people listen and take notice of little me!

    Ten years ago we had virtually no influence. If we bought a shonky product we just whinged to the provider, if advertisers made unrealistic claims we could not easily point out their errors or if we had a great idea we could write an article that might not be published.

    Now we can keep people on their toes. Genea-Bodies contributions about and evaluations of issues, services, products and resources via blogs, Twitter etc will lead to improvement in products and new knowledge in our field.

    “You’re nobody until somebody loves you” – social media provides the love to turn us all into somebodies.
    Geniaus´s last [type] ..Follow Friday – Australian Familysites – Gates – McEvoy – Maloney Family Tree

  5. Jenna says:

    Right on Joan! Any corporation, product, conference, etc that can, in any way, be used by genealogists or applied to genealogy research, need to take note. The collective reach and influence of the online genealogy “bodies” is too powerful to ignore!

  6. Joan –

    All I have to say is AMEN! I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I think conferences and companies are slowly starting to realize that rewarding and loving your biggest cheerleaders will benefit everyone involved.


  7. Marian Pierre-Louis says:

    Just want to play devil’s advocate here. It’s all well and good to be recognized but until we can actually make a self-suporting living based on the tremendous amount of work we do, what’s the point? All of us work so hard. If we were in corporate america doing what we do we’d all make more than $75k salaries. Until this industry recognizes these individuals with monetary compensation of some sort then it is only self-gratification we gain. I can’t eat that. That said, I think Thomas will figure out a way to fix this problem :)

  8. Kerry Scott says:

    Marian brings up a good point. When there are so many people working for free, it’s hard to turn this into a business (as others have had in other niches).
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave

  9. Marian –

    You make some great points. I’d love to be paid for this – it would be a dream job.

    But with that said, I’m willing to settle for self-gratification, because in the end, I’m not doing it for any of those companies – I’m doing it because I feel a part of the community (I consider my genealogy friends to be my family!) and I like to approach my blog and social networking efforts (which have shrunk a lot in the last few months because of school and work) as if I was in a conversation with my readers face to face – this is all information I believe to be valuable to share. Sharing my own family history, the genea-lessons I’ve learned, the products I’ve tried, the companies I love, the companies I can’t stand, the projects that work, the projects that don’t, etc. It is all stuff I’d expect to be talking about with a genea-friend.

    I would LOVE to get paid, and I know a lot of other people in the genealogy world who work a million times harder than I and who definitely deserve to be paid.

    Elyse Doerflinger´s last [type] ..Depression Era Cooking Lessons and Stories

  10. Carole Riley says:

    Marian I agree with you. It’s very gratifying, I’m sure, to be given a title to persuade you to help promote the conference you are attending, but what’s in it for you? Other than “influence”, which can’t be measured and doesn’t put food on the table by attracting paying clients.
    Carole Riley´s last [type] ..Backupify your social media

  11. Consider this…I’m not talking about just blogging. Think about all we do – volunteering at societies, chairing large conferences, etc. As genealogists we do a tremendous amount as volunteers. It’s all good. And I feel good about what I do. But I have to take into consideration when my husband’s asks me what I’m doing to impact our family’s bottom line.
    Marian Pierre-Louis´s last [type] ..Tips for Speaking to a Journalist about your Family History

  12. Interesting topic, and I agree on both fronts if that’s possible. We are becoming somebodies, but at the same time there are some somebodies who will never be compensated adequately, at least anytime soon. Is that right. No, but it is what it is. At least right now. Maybe becoming a group of somebodies WILL give us a collective voice. I’ve spent the greater part of my professional life not being compensated to the degree I would like to be compensated. Clearly I didn’t get into my business for the money, but like the old Harvard union buttons use to say, “You Can’t Eat Prestige.”
    Cynthia Shenette´s last [type] ..Reflecting on NERGC One Week Later

  13. Kerry Scott says:

    I think it’s fine if people are blogging because they love it. I love it too. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.

    But there are SO many things we can be doing to support each other. In my old niche, for example, people bought from each other’s affiliate links. If you were going to buy something on Amazon, you always went to the blog of a friend/colleague and clicked through. It costs nothing, and if everybody does it, everybody makes money. It doesn’t violate the Amazon rules. It doesn’t cost the purchaser anything. It’s win-win.

    In this group hardly anyone does that. I can’t even FIND the affiliate link on some sites (even though I know they’re part of the Amazon program). I wrote a post explaining how affiliate links worked, and I got some astonishingly nasty emails. Some people were really pissed that I had the nerve to think that I would actually want to make a few pennies for the work that I do on my blog.

    There’s a segment of the populations who seems to feel like it’s some sort of crime to want to make some money from your blog. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not independently wealthy. I can’t afford to spend a huge chunk of time blogging for free, because it cuts into my money-making time (which is very limited to begin with). If I don’t make money, I can’t buy food…and all of the ways my blog makes money are totally free to the reader anyway. Why do people care?

    It’s great when people can afford to entertain or inform people for free. Not everyone can afford to do that though. Some people can only afford to work for pay.

    And don’t get me started about all of the big companies that want bloggers to advertise for them for free.
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave

  14. Amy Coffin says:

    I’m confused. Are we still talking about blogging or genealogy as a profession?
    Amy Coffin´s last [type] ..Fun with Search Terms

  15. I have to agree with Marian – and I had hoped to touch upon this topic with last week’s Open Thread Thursday topic of Careers in Genealogy – but for some reason the day got away from me.

    I will work on a post or a series of posts tonite. There really is so much to cover but I often agonize over the points Marian brings up especially when you are providing a service in a community like genealogy that sometimes expects something or everything for free. I’ve finally had to start charging for some of my “knowledge dispensing” and while I am not making money hand over fist, people are starting to understand that like any other service person you hire (a plumber, an electrician, etc.), my service has a value.
    Thomas MacEntee´s last [type] ..Genealogy Blogging Beat – Sunday- April 17- 2011

  16. Kerry Scott says:

    Elyse–you can have community and still make some money. I had a sense of community and friendship in every corporate job I had. I still got a paycheck though.

    Nobody’s going to make $75K/year, and that’s fine. But there’s no reason we can’t support each other and find ways to grow our businesses. Other niches do this, and they still have plenty of community and camaraderie and all that.

    Being broke doesn’t make us better friends In fact, when I don’t get food, I’m pretty cranky. Like, MUCH crankier than usual even. You don’t want to see it.
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave

  17. Amy,

    The answer is both! We can stick to just blogging or we can talk about the industry as a whole. It’s a very fine line that separates them.

    Marian Pierre-Louis´s last [type] ..Tips for Speaking to a Journalist about your Family History

  18. Kerry Scott says:

    I’m talking about blogging. I don’t have enough experience yet with genealogy as a profession to start ranting about that. Gimme time and I’m sure it’ll come.
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave

  19. I find myself becoming a local Somebody, teaching a few classes at the library and the community college in genealogy. It is hard to know how much is a reasonable fee. I’m doing my first customized talk on a Civil War soldier in August and obviously won’t be paid for all the research, but it is worth more than the talks on work I’ve already done. There’s nothing wrong with promoting yourself. Clearly, there is a desire for this kind of information.

    Genealogy isn’t the only passion that steals my time. There are also innumerable hours I spend as an unpaid Board member for the community theater, trying to keep a non-profit afloat. I’m gaining marketing skills, and that requires writing too.

    And there’s more unpaid work advocating kids’ STEM education and engineering career guidance – I have hopes that will turn into a second (third?) career at some point. Contributing a chapter to a recent book feels great, although there are no royalties on that front.

    My point is that any “start-up” business takes a lot of work to get off the ground. The most important thing is valuing your work and sticking with it. Every contact leads to something new down the road. Sometimes new friendships are the reward. Sometimes the cash is a little farther down the road than we’d like.
    Sara E. Campbell´s last [type] ..Lovely!

  20. Lynn Palermo says:

    Well it’s about time we had this conversation! So clearly there are a lot of starving genealogy bloggers out there who wouldn’t mind making a little money at this gig.
    Lynn Palermo´s last [type] ..Monday Morning Mentions

  21. Bill West says:

    I’m one of those bloggers who’s in it mainly for the fun of it, but I understand those who might like to make a some money for their genealogy work. I
    am considering adding an affiliate button to my blogs but I have mixed feelings. I work in a bookstore and amazon is in my opinion a bookstore-killer.
    On the other hand, my pleasant employer, Borders, has done nothing to make me feel like I should be loyal and be one of their affiliates, Since they are closing my store in a few weeks, I might end up going with Amazon, anyway.

  22. Kerry –

    I wasn’t trying to imply that people don’t deserve to get paid. They totally do. Since I don’t devote much time to blogging anymore (I gotta pay my bills and I have schoolwork to do), I can’t say or act like I personally deserve any money. If I put in the effort that other people (like pretty much everyone who has commented), then I’d think that I need to be paid.

    (I hope that makes sense! Its almost finals time so I have barely any brain cells).
    Elyse Doerflinger´s last [type] ..Depression Era Cooking Lessons and Stories

  23. Hi Geniaus Jill,
    Excellent response and good point about our ability to provide evaluation which makes for better products and services. (And is the reason any savvy business these days will watch and respond to the social media streams. The Consumer (note the capital C) is the reason companies/services/products exist..)

    I promote worthwhile endeavors related to genealogy because it is a win/win situation. The stronger the genealogy providers (be they individuals or companies) grow, the more the industry as a whole benefits. I blog about my passion for genealogy and the services, products and people that make my genealogy user experience richer.

    Thanks for your comment.


  24. Thanks Elyse. A true win/win situation.


  25. Hi Marian,
    Ahh…I do love a good discussion! I’ll wade into this one tomorrow when I’m not so brain dead. It is 11 pm Sunday night as I type and I’m just home from am excellent two day genealogy conference.

    But I’ll leave you with one question which I’ll expand on later.

    What is the main purpose of your genealogy business?


  26. Geniaus says:

    Wow – this thread is what blogging is all about – discussion.

    Thanks, Joan, for a post that has inspired people to use the potential of the blogging platform.
    Geniaus´s last [type] ..Family History for Beginners

  27. Geniaus says:

    I have retired from my ‘real job’ and am throwing my self into genealogy with a passion.

    Perhaps one day my blogging or genealogy obsession will put some jam on the bread on the table but that’s not my purpose. I blog because like Elyse “I’m willing to settle for self-gratification” and like Bill “I’m one of those bloggers who’s in it mainly for the fun of it.” I am not looking for extrinsic rewards but relish the instrinsic value of being an active part in the geneablogging community.

    I was honoured to be “given a title” at Rootstech but it didn’t persuade me to promote that conference positively – I was mostly positive because it was a super affair. I hoped my posts would also promote Australia. Like Joan I try to “promote worthwhile endeavors related to genealogy because it can lead to a win/win situation” for the genealogy consumer.

    The point of Joan’s post was not about making a crust (Amy you were not confused) but about the influence bloggers (amateurs and professionals)in the genealogy sphere can have in that arena.

    I look forward to reading what Joan has to say about “What is the main purpose of your genealogy business?”
    Geniaus´s last [type] ..Family History for Beginners

  28. Kerry Scott says:

    I think the reason it took a turn is that that influence is translating differently in this field than in others. For example, when mommybloggers started to gain influence, many of them quickly turned it into dollars. There are mommybloggers out there making some serious money.

    In contrast, the “influence” that the genealogy blogging community is gaining seems not to be translating into cash. So it’s different than other blogging communities that started sooner and gained traction earlier than this one.

    I think part of the reason for that is that genealogy has more people who feel that making money will somehow ruin things. There’s this “I’m just doing it for fun” vibe that somehow precludes making money, as though the two cannot be mixed. I’m doing this for fun too, but my mortgage company wants to be paid either way.
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..Why Is There So Much Drama On Find A Grave

  29. Luckie says:

    Loving the forum discussion & have enjoyed reading the variety of comments!

    Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) get paid & rewarded in every other medium they contribute to — why should Genealogy should any different?

    Our work, labor, learned lessons & perfected research skills contribute not only to an informed voice in the present day social space but to the science of genealogy research advancing.

    What we do today & how we contribute, will make the efforts of future genealogists much, much easier.

    Genealogy is personally gratifying, but it can also be very costly. If our services are requested & lends to a companies and/or products ROI, the contributor should rightfully be compensated.

    Luckie´s last [type] ..Sentimental Sunday- Flying with Ravens…

  30. Lynn Palermo says:

    Kerry, dead on!
    Lynn Palermo´s last [type] ..Monday Morning Mentions

  31. I’ve been thinking about this a lot in my head since this discussion started. I think I’ve sorted it out this way.

    There are two different ways to interpret Joan’s original post based on each person’s individual involvement with genealogy.

    For those who are blogging, etc for the love of genealogy then I would absolutely agree with Joan’s original post.

    For those of us who are working as professionals in the realm of genealogy in any capacity (perhaps I should just speak for myself), the original blog post raises the continual niggling question about how much time we professionals should be spending 1) blogging and 2) doing blogging or other activity such as being a conference sub-chair when it is done for other organizations that may or may not be non-profit.

    So I think the cord was just struck on that point. I don’t think there is a right or wrong here. I think there are different groups of people impacted in different ways and some of us are spending more time thinking about it because of our unique attempt to try to earn a living within the field.
    Marian Pierre-Louis´s last [type] ..Tips for Speaking to a Journalist about your Family History

  32. Amy Coffin says:

    This thread shows that there is a need for more complex blogging topics to be discussed at conferences and meetings. Many people still need the “intro to blogging” track offered at most conferences, but there’s a growing group of genealogy bloggers who want information on monetization, marketing, etc.

    At 2011 RootsTech, I almost proposed this as an unconference, but held off. Should it be on the unconference schedule next year? Would you attend?
    Amy Coffin´s last [type] ..Fun with Search Terms

  33. This is a truly interesting discussion. My family has been asking for a long time why I do not get paid for all of the genealogy I do for people (just about every day). My answer is always the same: it doesn’t pay. I’ve had people say they want to hire me but if I give them an even low per hour rate they think it is too much so I just gave up. I’ve put my energies into the speaker’s circuit but that can be feast or famine.

    Reading all of the comments prior to this one, is there a way we can unite and at least eke out a living at what we not only love but also do so well. I enjoyed the bit of recognition in being an official NERGC blogger – I’d love to see a geneabloggers segment and section at the next NERGC – beyond this kind of recognition, what do we have? We work a lot to share information we have etc. etc.

    Bloggers United could be our theme lol. Thanks everyone for sharing. I’ve been following the thread and decided to get on-board with the rest of you this morning ;)


  34. Lynn Palermo says:

    great idea Amy!
    Lynn Palermo´s last [type] ..Monday Morning Mentions

  35. Amy – for me it always depends on where the conference it held. If it is in Salt Lake (undoubtedly), I will not be able to attend. These kinds of conferences need to spread out to different parts of the country. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. We will not all be invited to be part of round table distant discussions either. I watched every RootsTech webinar that was made available and loved every bit of it.

    Lucie LeBlanc Consentino´s last [type] ..The New England Regional Genealogical Conference – NERGC

  36. Bill West says:

    I haven’t had my morning tea yet so forgive me if I am incoherent.

    As I said I’m blogging for the fun of it(and to be found by possible cousins). But I have no trouble in seeing people turn it into a paying proposition. I think what Thomas has done is fantastic. And frankly, I don’t know enough yet
    about proper genealogical procedure or technology to go pro myself. There’s a reason why I rarely if ever do posts about comparing genealogical programs for example. I just don’t know enough.

    Marian, your question about how much time you should spend on blogging is a good one. But perhaps it should be do I promote my blog enough? Because I look at folks like Thomas and others whose b logs contribute to their success by getting their names out there. In that respect, blogging and taking part in non profit events could lead to referrals and business,

    Ok, I REALLY need that tea…..

  37. Amy Coffin says:

    Marian, to answer your question, I can’t and won’t separate my blog from my professional time. They go together. Blogging doesn’t take away from my work time, it enhances it. That’s just me. That’s the way I use my blog.

    As for the volunteer time, I am very stingy with it. Because of my family situation, I don’t have the time for large committee-type volunteer service right now. I say “no” a lot. That won’t always be the case, but it happens to be now. I don’t have time to run a family and a business and volunteer extensively.

    My free time is about 8pm every night. Who wants a volunteer at that hour? I do a lot of writing for my society newsletters and other free stuff. These have my name and website info at the bottom of them, so there’s a little marketing there as well.

    There’s no reason that some of the things you do outside of your professional genealogy business can’t help you promote your professional genealogy business. It’s just a matter of balance, spinning plates, prioritization, realizing that you can’t do everything and accepting that fact.
    Amy Coffin´s last [type] ..Fun with Search Terms

  38. I absolutely love this discussion!

    But I’d like to throw in another aspect to the discussion. The answer to this will vary, but I’d like to know how much people would like to make from their blog – enough to live on? Enough to pay a bill or two every month? Enough to finance their genealogy society memberships, magazine subscriptions, database/website subscriptions? How much money are we talking here?

    In my opinion, there will always be some people that will make a lot more money than everyone else – simply because they have a lot of knowledge, know how to properly market their blog, and use their blog as a tool to advertise the rest of their business. The first person that pops into my mind for this is Thomas – simply because he got us organized and together, gave us that team spirit, and offered a lot of technical knowledge that I for one needed. He is creative and innovative and he works his butt off – and he has created a genealogy business. Does he earn how much he deserves? Probably not (an entire guess on my part here).

    But Thomas isn’t the only one.

    So… when we talk about making money, my question becomes how much do people want to make? How much money are we talking here?

    Personally, I’d be happy to be able to pay for my hosting fees and maybe a small bill every month. But that is simply because I’m not trying to make a business of it.
    Elyse Doerflinger´s last [type] ..Depression Era Cooking Lessons and Stories

  39. Amy Coffin says:

    Elyse, I don’t have a specific financial goal in mind for my blog. I just figure there is an opportunity there so I am taking it. I will never make a living off of my blog. That’s my choice because of my topic and focus. However, I can use some of the real estate on the side of the page to earn some $ so that’s what I’ve done.

    Also, one should consider the definition of “money.” Bloggers often get freebies from companies. Does that count as income? (I know the answer from a tax point, just asking from a genealogy blogging point.)
    Amy Coffin´s last [type] ..Fun with Search Terms

  40. Very interesting discussion. I’m one of those people who blog for the fun of it and don’t have any affiliate links on my blog. However, I don’t have any issues with those people who choose to do so. One of the reasons I don’t have any affiliate links is that I don’t think there would be many people who read my blog that would click through to view or buy anything! It seems that many people have an issue with someone trying to make a few dollars from what they write so I don’t want to tick off the few readers that I have.

    I’ve also thought about “going professional” as I think I have the experience of 20+ years of research but unlike some people (Thomas in particular does an amazing job of self-promotion) I’m not good at promoting myself. I’ve just not been comfortable with putting myself in the spotlight. If there were seminars or “tracks” at genealogy conferences specifically geared to self-promotion and how to make money from your blog I would definitely attend.

  41. Fran says:

    I am a lowly blogger who does it mainly for family and friends. I have enjoyed the discussion here, but have to tell you this. It scares me. I love you all and your blogs. I have visited the professional genealogists sites that have blogs on the side and they do not have the heart you do. If you want to make money at it, make a professional site and have it be to the side. I have learned much from you all and I have been in the position to promote you all to those who see you as influential in information dissemination. That is what I consider myself, a volunteer who shares information and passes that which I have received on. I promote each of you as much as I can, because I believe in you as people.
    Fran´s last [type] ..Sentimental Sunday The Hero Learned to be Humble Early

  42. Kerry Scott says:

    Amy–I would LOVE to see this topic addressed at a conference. In fact, I’d like to see it discussed a lot. In a way, we are all pioneers here…we’re in a new frontier, trying to make it work. The real pioneers helped each other out. They built barns together, compared notes on what crops worked and what didn’t, and generally operated in collaborative ways as the built new communities. I’d like to see us work together that same way, continuously.

    Elyse–that’s a good question. I don’t expect to make a living from my blog. I measure my work on it on an hourly basis. I only have about 10 hours a week to earn money (the rest is spent taking care of my kids; stay-at-home mommery to kids as young as mine is pretty time-consuming). I have the blog, and then I have other income-producing things I do. I have to earn a certain amount in order to pay my bills. If blogging takes up time, it has to produce roughly the same hourly rate as the other stuff. If it doesn’t, I won’t have enough money to pay my bills. Otherwise, I have to stop. I just can’t afford a hobby right now.
    Kerry Scott´s last [type] ..No More Clues From Social Security Numbers

  43. O.K., I didn’t get too far down the list of comments before I wanted to chime in. And also? I have other genealogy-related activities to do today that involve trying to make money. *wink*

    Lemme just state that first and foremost I am a proponent of business. I don’t think it’s evil to wanna try to make a buck. I don’t understand the overall hatred/dislike/distrust of business that seems to permeate through our society today. Unfortunately, it seems to permeate through the genealogy world as well. It’s almost like we bloggers and business people have to apologize that we’re trying to make a buck. Or two. I’m not sorry. If you don’t like it, then read other blogs that don’t have ads. It’s a free country.

    And, Kerry, unfortunately the genea-world is slow to everything online. The tried and true business strategies that have been implemented in other online industries are unheard of in the genealogy world. I constantly read and study other industry’s marketing strategies and am trying to implement them into my marketing strategy. Yes. I have an online presence for my business. Yes. I have a blog that is personal. Yes. I market both of them and myself as much as possible using any marketing strategies I can think of. And that are legal. [I especially like Twitter for some odd reason.] Some people write on their blogs just for themselves. And that’s O.K. But when I blog, I am writing to you and anyone else who will read. I like an audience.

    And yes, I know my Klout number on Twitter. I also read the Hootsuite analysis of my tweeting. I also keep up with my Google Analytics and Feedburner numbers for both my personal and business blogs. It’s the business person in me. I want to know my reach. I want to know who’s reading what I write.

    So when the genea-world finally catches up with what other industries are already doing online successfully, I’ll be in the right position. I have a plan. And I don’t think that makes me a cold, calculating, bad business person. I come from a line of entrepreneurs. It makes me like my Dad. And Big Paw Paw. [Uh-oh.]

    And if someone already said all this already, I apologize. [Just for repeating what was said. Not for what I said.]

    Caroline Pointer´s last [type] ..Was It Really Worth It

  44. Hi all,
    Thank you so much for all of the comments. What started out as a discussion on social media influence has morphed into a serious discussion about making a living as a genealogist.

    I have a challenge for you but first a bit about my background so you know where I am coming from. I spent close to 35 years in medical research, the last 20 of which in managerial positions. Since retiring I’ve had more time for genealogy and something else I always wanted to do in life – business. I’ve spent the last two years studying entrepreneurship and business from some of the best (Jay Abraham, Dr. Robert Cialdini, Rich Schefren (google them) and more.

    What I’ve learned is this and I quote from Jay Abraham:
    “The secret to making business really soar is to have a passionate awareness and commitment to a higher purpose, and the higher purpose is not your own enrichment.”
    “Look at your purpose. Ask yourself this question. If I were on the receiving end, why would I want this? Why would I want to take advantage? Whats in it for me?”
    “Most people fall in love with their product or their company instead of falling love with their client. A massive change will occur in your whole mindset when you can see your business as interacting and enhancing people and their lives.”

    Have you thoroughly analysed your market? What do your customers need or want?

    I challenge you to think about the purpose of your genealogy business. Write it down. Discuss it.


  45. O.K., I read some more of the comments, I would LOVE to contribute what I’ve learned about monetization of blogs, or anything else about blogging. I am also adding something to my professional services along these lines that will be revealed when I reveal my new website with my how-to blog. Just as soon as I get the website finalized. [It's almost there, folks. Almost.]

    Caroline Pointer´s last [type] ..Was It Really Worth It

  46. Lynn Palermo says:

    Bravo Caroline!
    Lynn Palermo´s last [type] ..Monday Morning Mentions

  47. I totally agree with you Joan. A successful business is all about relationship-building. And in order to successfully build relationships, you must know who you want to build a relationship with and convince them why they should build a relationship with you. The kicker, though, is doing all of this and doing it naturally. That’s what makes you successful. The expectation is the relationship, not the business.

    Caroline Pointer´s last [type] ..Was It Really Worth It

  48. I believe in business and relationship building and I believe strongly and passionately in my work. I hope all of you are feeling the same sense of satisfaction I get from building relationships with you. I’m enjoying this discussion even though it scared me a bit at first. I like this journey we are on. Good things will come of it.
    Marian Pierre-Louis´s last [type] ..Tips for Speaking to a Journalist about your Family History


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  2. [...] want to especially thank Joan Miller at Luxegen for her post Genea-Bodies – The New Somebodies which started some great conversations on Facebook and Twitter. Also thanks to Kerry Scott of Clue [...]

  3. [...] started in the comments on Joan Miller‘s Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies.  Then it continued with tons of frank comments on Marian Pierre-Louis‘ Facebook page.  [...]

  4. [...] want to especially thank Joan Miller at Luxegen for her post Genea-Bodies – The New Somebodies which started some great conversations on Facebook and Twitter. Also thanks to Kerry Scott of Clue [...]

  5. [...] thread starts here and has proliferated widely. I’ll admit I have had trouble keeping up with the entire [...]

  6. [...] 15 April 2011, Joan Miller wrote a post entitled, “Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies,” in her Luxegen Genealogy and Family History blog. A comment by fellow professional genealogist and [...]

  7. [...] this past spring, shortly after the first RootsTech conference. On 15 April 2011 Joan posted “Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies” in her LuxeGen blog. In this post, Joan wrote: We are the New Somebodies.  Yes, in our [...]

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