I was just catching up with my email and read a post on the APG membership list from a 20-something genealogist who wanted to know where the conversations were taking place about encouraging young genealogists like her.
Likewise, the genealogical community loves to talk about blogs and bloggers and their role in the community. The perception, I believe, is that bloggers carry great cred within the online community. I present both talks and workshops about blogging. The irony of this is that most people in my talks or workshops don't regularly read blogs. I usually use Dick Eastman of Eastman's Online Newsletter and Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings as my test cases. Most participants have heard of Dick Eastman but not of Randy Seaver. If someone hasn't heard of Randy Seaver then they really aren't acquainted with blogging. That suggests to me that is a great disconnect about what is the genealogical community.
The "community" I believe is that bunch of us that get online on the APG or TGF lists or on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and prattle away about genealogy. When "we" are talking about the "community" that is who "we" are referring too.
But from my experience as a speaker, I know that the definition of the genealogical community is much greater than that. There are many active genealogists who participate in their local societies but don't participate in "our community" online. Does that mean they are not part of the genealogical community? Or are they part of a different community?
And then there are folks like my uncle and Dad, who use Ancestry.com and actively do research but don't engage with any society. They operate completely on their own or only with other family members. Perhaps in their searches online they bump into information by bloggers but rarely do they engage blogs on a regular basis.
So if we are going to be honest, what exactly is the genealogical community? Is it the folks who are trying to define the community, is it the broad group of society members or the even broader group of lone mavericks out to discover their family history?
Let me know. I'm curious to hear what you think.