The parties at my college went something like this: people showed up at a house (usually rented by a gaggle of college students), there was bad music, then more people showed up, then someone would start fighting, then the cops would show up and everyone would disperse. Lather, rinse, repeat every weekend.
I never liked those big parties, instead preferring the smaller get-togethers with better music and people I actually knew. Still each week I caved to my friends' pleas and promises that *this* party was *the* party. It never was and I always ended up bored and tired. But you know what? I never complained because it was my own dang fault for going to a party in Pomona.
Lately social media has left me feeling the same way. Facebook keeps surprising users with its changes meant to force everyone to share more of their lives. LinkedIn recently did the same, opting everyone in to their new social advertising campaign then facing backlash for doing so. But you know what? I never complained because it was my own dang fault for
Earlier this week, Geni.com announced that Geni Pro Just Got a Whole Lot Better, which in turn angered the users of their free service. In the interest of full disclosure, I received a Geni Pro account from the kind folks at Geni.com. However, I run my account differently than most users. I have no interest in sharing my family, merging profiles or any of that. I created a private space for my family to learn about their ancestors and that's how I want to use Geni.
Reaction from the Geni-sphere was harsh. Just read the comments on the original Geni blog post. Bloggers like Tamura Jones, Randy Seaver, DearMYRTLE, Elizabeth O'Neal and GeneaBloggers also weighed in with their own observations and opinions. My own take is this: I like using social media tools for genealogy, but I am also a private person who wants control over access and online profiles of my ancestors. I've never been a fan of surprises and gravitate toward people, places and things that can give me that assurance, genealogically speaking.
Geni.com's 58+ million profile World Family Tree is a lot like one of my old college parties. There's just too many people and I don't want to be there. I was cool with my small group in the corner, but now I'm being pushed to mingle with people I don't even know. Geni's latest changes are like the right hook that starts the fight that sends everyone scrambling. Suddenly, it's Kegger 101 all over again and I have to step aside from the carnage and decide how to get back to where I want to be.
I'm not uspet about Geni's new plan. They have a product vision and its theirs to initiate. After all, it's my own dang fault for
I've no intention of deleting my Geni account, but I also hesitate to add anything to it right now because my own needs and wishes differ from the path on which the product is heading. It's not a bad path, just one that heads left when I want to turn right. Perhaps that will change in the future, so I will wait and see. No dramatic exit for me.
Many, many people are jumping the Geni ship and going to WikiTree. I have an account there, but I've never developed it. Should I? Or will I be surprised by new developments down the road there, too? Just like I grew tired of the big, lame college parties, I've grown tired of the social media surprises that take away some semblance of privacy and control of my information.
I hesitated commenting on this issue at all, simply because I wasn't outraged enough to garner the necessary emotion for an effective blog post. However, I am a genealogy consumer that places the highest value on social media AND privacy AND control and I figure that vote should be counted somewhere.
Meanwhile, RootsMagic and I are having a small offline shindig this weekend. I know we'll have fun because the entertainment is always solid--no surprises--and I can choose with whom I share my ancestors. That's my idea of a genealogy party.
[Update: Geni CEO statement and my comments.]