Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of FGS Conference in Birmingham Alabama

Hello Hello....... Birmingham looked cold outside today but apparently it was overcast but warm and very humid. UGgggg!!! but inside the hotel and convention center it has been a wonderful day. An amazing day for societies, sharing the good and bad information between societies. Root Cellar SGS is way above the standard of alot of the societies around the country but there is still plenty of room for us to grow and invest in ourselves, our membership, and our activities. I am excited to share with all of you. I will try to keep it short here..... (I do have to make a disclaimer... my mini computor is not working that well and I am struggling to get these posts completed, I don't believe I will be able to manage too many if any pictures this time around.. sorry!)

Special start for the day... 8am-9:15am "Transforming Your Society into a Dynamic 21st Century Destination" delivered by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS. Taylor is a nationally known and recognized genealogical author, lecturer, and researcher. He is a Business Development Manager for brightsolid online publishing, the creators of  findmypast.com. (you might remember him from at least 4 episodes on the show 'Who Do You Think You Are?'  Taylor says, "At present, societies face the task of shifting form current business models to solutions and practices that attract and meeting the needs of modern family history enthusiasts. Discover how a blend of tradition, technology, and new techniques will transform our societies into thriving destinations, built for long term growth and success. " Family History IS a destination. It is all about the journey- new discoveries but an emotional journey also. What type is our society? How do we look from the outside? Are we inviting and warm or broken windows, worn looking and cold? Are we active or passive? We need to be the destination for a diverse audience... there are three groups 'the curious', the new generation' and the 'established'. Who do we serve? Where do we use our resources, which group should we be looking for? Define success and failure! Was the last seminar a success because we made money or was it a success for other reasons or was it a failure for other reasons? Success is fulfilling your mission, failure is not fulfilling  your mission.  We need to proactive, we need to make sure that we make sure that we listen rather than talk, we need to be part of our community. We need to be essential to our communitiy community we need to add value to our  community. Survival is not enough, we need to go into thrive mode..... share, engage and participate.

Next session: Delegate 101 with our old friend George Morgan, Sue Tolbert & other FGS board members. This is a very basic session... there are guidelines for a 'delegate' under the members only section on the FGS website. So I will be going there and reading up. Thhere is also a Membership Handbook that I want to read  through also.  This session after the basics we discussed went to the audience and brainstorming. Brainstorming the successful parts of many societies and  the problems that they see. Most of the discussion was 'mind set of board members - what is working has worked so no need to change, how to get the word out - publicity,  dealing with overbearing members, volunteers - how to get them, how to retain them. Website/ blog is our 24 hour embassador. (never looked at it that way but it would be true- I think our best foot is forward)

Next session: Going Green with Your Society with Randy W. Whitied (you may have heard that name if you listen to the radio show online from FGS every Saturday) Most of this presentation had to do with going digital. No more paper newsletters/publication - but always exceptions. Survey your members and educate your members. Root Cellar is  past this point and on our way to digitizing our publications. Some discussion was around digitizingmonthly newsletters and have them sent out in the form of a blog like look. E-Publishing has another way of publishing. This would be more time comsumming and takes a learning curve.

LUNCH - 'Records Accessisn a post 9/11 World' .... with David Rencher. 'The movement to close records has been steadily increasing on all fronts - local, state, and federal since 9/11.Records used by genealogicists are at risk of being closed or having valuabble date elements removed from public view. Each of us needs to be aware, and let your legislatures know how you feel about records being closed.

Next session: 'Brainstorming Session: 21st Century Marketing' with our friend Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin. And it was a fast paced session of technology and how to use it. We talked in depth about Facebook, Twitter and Google +(hangout) , Google Chrome, MailChimp (mass mailing program), Bottlenose &  Hootsuite ( google them), Google Alerts used for many different reasons. Thomas feels that tap the new generation Facebook and Twitter are most important.

Final Session of the day: Your Society and the Internet - where does it End? with Linda Woodward Geiger (5-6p) - very interesting session. talked about websites and getting started, what to look for, what is good for your group, domain name, hosting fees, privacy, content from HTML or template based. Make sure your mission statement is easy to find and reflects your society. Make sure addresses, contact info , programs, projects, membership are all easy to find and are up to date. How do you get the word out about your pu ordered and paid for? Discussion about  using Pay Pal and the square. Alot of discussion about using Skype for presentations, creating webinars and videos created for your own channel on Youtube.... just short little how to's. Talked about Got to Meeting and Citrix  and vimeo.

I am excited but I think I am already on overload. So much information in one day. Time for clearing of the mind (a little knitting should do it)  and then to bed because a new day will be here quickly.

...... hopefully this helps to bring you closer to the action through Sandra Gardner Benward


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