15 July 2009

Wise Guys: GenealogyWise.com

The geneablogger community went through Facebook fantasy, followed by Twitter twisting.

This past week has been a whirlwind of wise guys (and gals) setting up shop at GenealogyWise.com.

If you haven't heard about Genealogy Wise, it is likely because your cave in the hills is still waiting for an Internet connection.

To tell the truth, I've also been caught up in this.

When Facebook entered the geneablogger spotlight, my learning curve was steep and it took time to decide to join. When Twitter was next, I thought less about it and acted more quickly. When GenealogyWise was announced, I joined immediately and setup three groups, Tracing the Tribe on GenealogyWise, Jewish Genealogy and Sephardic Genealogy. I'm still learning how to use it to its potential and finding some stumbling blocks (topic for another post).

Today, when I announced our new Tracing the Tribe logo, the news went out nearly simultaneously on the blog and on my GW groups.

When I joined GW, there were only a few hundred members. Today, there are more than 5,000. Groups have also increased rapidly, with many people adding several.

Today, the site announced a contest of sorts offering financial incentives (read prizes) for a host of categories, such as the group with the largest number of members and such.

Personally, I'm not happy with this event and think it smacks negatively of running an annoying numbers game for profit (of the individuals attempting to win). I'm not thrilled as it means my inbox is now filled with invitations to become members of groups I'm not interested in, and to be "friends" of people I don't know. Much of this contact is "fishing" and thus false, in my opinion.

The minute such a "contest" - even with the relatively nominal amount of $100 for each category - is announced, the vultures come out of the woodwork. Yes, I know, vultures don't live in woodwork, but you know what I mean.

This is an example of what I call the ethical dilemma of "yes, we can do this - but should we?" Many geneabloggers can think of past incidents by other companies that also fit that classification.

Someone thought up this "great idea," but didn't think it through as to what would happen in the great rush to win $100 in each of the following categories, between now and 1pm MST August 6:
- for the member with the most confirmed friends in GenealogyWise. (How are they going to "confirm" them? It's a snap these days to set up hundreds of emails/identities and have these phantoms join a group and become "friends.")

- to the owner of the group with the most members. (See above comment)

- to the owner of the surname group with the most members.

- to the creator of the genealogy-related video on GenealogyWise that has been viewed the most times. (Yep, and the phantoms can also view the video.)

- to the member who has uploaded the most historical photos.

- to the person who adds the most genealogy-related videos.

- to the person who has the most popular blog entry (most page views). (Is there a theme song for the Phantoms' Parade?)

- to the most active member in the forums. (Some people do have other lives!)
At some newspapers (where I worked in the past) there were signs in the typesetting room: "Don't annoy the typesetters." Sites such as Genealogy Wise might consider a similar sign, "Don't annoy the geneabloggers."

I believe the site has great potential, but strange contests aimed at "grabbing" friends and members detracts from the positive appeal Genealogy Wise had for me - until today.

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a sign "Don't disturb the geneabloggers"! I think I need one for my home office.