Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Group or Not To Group, That is the Question...

What does it mean to be a genea-blogger?

At it's simplest, it means having an interest in genealogy and a using a blogging platform to write about it.

To be a genea-blogger you don't need to be approved, join a group, or be on FaceBook, Twitter, or GenealogyWise. There are no dues to pay, no standards to be met, no code of ethics to adhere to. You don't have to have any experience in genealogy research or even be a good writer for that matter. You don't need to post a badge on your blog claiming you are one or participate in blog carnivals on the topic of genealogy. There are no publications to subscribe to, no conferences to attend, nor any awards given out for years of dedicated service. You don't have to link to any others who blog on the topic of genealogy or achieve a certain level of readership. In other words, there are no rules. Being a genea-blogger doesn't mean you stand for anything or belong to anything, it's just a label for something you do.

I have to remind myself of these things from time to time because sometimes I get caught up into thinking it means something more. There have been times when I felt like I belonged to a group with others who also write blog posts about genealogy related topics. But with no formal organization there is no actual group, it's just the idea of a group that exists in my mind. Facebook and Twitter have groups. They even have genealogy groups. But those groups have no standards or ethics either. There's an implied cohesion but no real meaning behind belonging. It's sort of like saying I'm a resident of Michigan. It identifies something about me but it doesn't make me a member of anything.

So where am I going with all this? Every once in a while I wonder if it's time to form a formal organization for genea-bloggers. A real group that means something and has standards.

And then I wonder, if there was such a group would I join it? Part of the beauty of blogging is the freedom from having to conform to any standards. If I want to write a post about photography on my genealogy blog, I can. Would I be willing to give that up in order to belong to a formal group with standards and likely limitations?

I don't know.

What are your thoughts?