Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To Webinar or Not to Webinar

Would you like to see more webinars or less?

Recently I received a pamphlet in the mail from a local hospital. They were offering a parenting class on dealing with teenagers. "Hmmm," I thought, "I could really use that information."  The talk was at 7pm at the hospital which was a 30 minute drive away.  The timing for this Mom of one teen and two pre-teens was right in the middle of homework and wind down for bedtime. I decided to pass.

This really got me thinking, however. I really wanted the information they had to offer but I didn't like the parameters they set for me to obtain it. Is there a better way?

This made me wish that everyone was providing webinars as a service.  Could you imagine what a loyal patron I could be if they would provide webinars through my computer?  I would love to have the information they are offering with terms that were convenient to me.  I would love it if I could tune in through my computer and learn how to be a better parent.

I can hear lots of you saying already that isolating people is not the answer. We need social interaction. I agree but not in all situations.  Here's the divide:


I believe that groups that strengthen their membership through relationship-building and continued interaction of its members over time should be limiting the use of webinars. If these groups share information more often over the internet they will erode their base and the members will no longer find benefit in the organization. Local and county genealogical societies are examples of this.

Conquering Geography

When a group grows from face to face interaction but is spread across a far flung geographic area, intermittent use of webinars can help bond the group together and help some members stay in touch when they otherwise wouldn't be able to because of travel.  Larger regional and national genealogical societies like the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) are good examples.

Information Please!

When you have a situation where strictly education or information is the goal, then there is little need for the members to interact.  Information needs to be shared and the relationship being built is really between the provider and the viewer. In a case like this I would say that webinars are absolutely the way to go. Legacy Family Tree and other commercial entities are just perfect for this.

Broadening it across all facets of life

I would love the information that the hospital has to offer. I do not, however, feel the need to bond with any of the other people who also need that information. So in this case I would much prefer a webinar. Make it convenient for me to get the information and start building a relationship between me and the organization providing the information.

I wish more organizations and businesses would starting thinking this way.  Do you want to build a relationship with me or do you need to drag me out in the cold, dark of night to see something live with a bunch of people I will never see again? I promise you, as a busy Mom and career woman I will likely opt to stay home.

What do the rest of you think? More webinars across all topics (not just genealogy), less webinars or selective webinars?


  1. You can imagine, I vote for more webinars!
    Myrt :)

  2. More webinars, please! In order for our genealogical society to grow, we need to attract more members from outside our base city by offering them benefits. Webinars would help us do this. We also need to teach our less computer-savvy members understand what webinars are and how easy they are to watch from home. At a recent board meeting, I referred to webinars in my report and one of our senior officers said, "I haven't got a clue what you just said." Ergo why we also need to assist those members.

  3. I agree more webinars. So far I have watched webinars in genealogy and crafts but see the benefit of many of life's topics. I'm now retired with an ill partner and can't get out as often to attend conferences or other educational programs. Thank you for the work you do and the information you share.

  4. I'm a huge fan of webinars. As a mum of 3 teens, I have similar timing issues. Webinars are flexible so I can learn when I have the time.

  5. I definitely say more webinars. It is great to interact, but some of us have difficulty getting out all the time. With webinars we are also able to take part.

  6. I have learned so much from webinars. They work so well in so many ways.

  7. Just recently have been listening to Legacy webinars and have learned a lot. Most of the time I am unable to see them when they are live, but have seen them at a later date and even suggested some to my Facebook friends. Yes, more webinars in all subjects.

  8. Marian, I'm curious to know if you contacted the hospital and asked if they would consider presenting webinars on topics like parenting teens so that people like you can benefit from the information without having to drive during homework time. Did you contact them? What was their response? I find that I am often telling work colleagues, friends in conversations, family members, that the genealogy community is far ahead of most businesses and industries with their use of webinars. More need to get on the webinar bandwagon, in my opinion.