Sunday, July 11, 2010
Recently, I've found myself reflecting quite often on my foray into the social media side of the genealogy world. Though I've been researching for fourteen years now, it wasn't until last summer that I was introduced to the world of blogging, and decided (under pressure from another blogger...lol) to give it a whirl. So, on July 10th, 2009, I wrote my first post, First Thoughts, for my blog, which was then called, "Just Thinking".
Since that first post, I've become increasingly more open and comfortable with the idea of sharing my family history with others. I've made many new online friends, and have even met a few folks away from the computer. I've learned so much from all of you, and have thoroughly enjoyed sharing the connection that engaging in this "hobby" gives us. Certainly I no longer feel so alone in my work. I know now that, even if my family members aren't so interested in what I'm doing, I have a cadre of readers who offer me support, and encouragement, and who share my excitement and joy whenever new discoveries are made in my work. Being a part of this community has opened my eyes to some of the greater responsibilities of being a family researcher. Thus, I've submitted documents from my research to several repositories, participated in more online chats, taken photos for Find-A-Grave, and reached out, as often as possible, to complete RAOGK for other researchers. I was already a keyer for Ancestry.com, and have now also signed up to volunteer for FamilySearch.org. I've comitted to producing and publishing a monthly E-Newsletter, "Family News", which goes out to all of my family members for whom I have email addresses. Additionally, I've joined both the North Carolina Genealogical Society and the African-American Heritage and Genealogical Society, and I'm considering attending my first genealogical conference in November. Before last summer, I'd just been "doing my own thing", but now, thanks to this community of bloggers, I consider myself to be a "fully-engaged" member of the genealogy community! Little to none of this would have happened, had I not become a blogger.
As wonderful and uplifting as the bulk of my experience in the blogosphere has been, there have also been some dark moments which have almost caused me to back completely away from this community; and though I haven't yet done so, have definitely caused me to take pause with it. Some months ago, I was maligned publicly by another member of this community - one who had been a friend, and who was indeed the very same person who persuaded me to start my blog a year ago. Things were written about me that were untrue, as I passively sat by and watched as our shared community sympathized and aligned itself with the writer. However, I chose to take the high road, and not engage in a war of words on my blog nor to distract from its intended purpose by using it as a platform for anything else. I was deeply baffled by the accusations being made about me, and hurt that this person, with whom I'd enjoyed a mutual friendship and offline connection, chose to respond to an apparent disagreement we'd had in this way. (I say apparent because I was never told what the problem was by this person. The accuser never spoke or wrote to me directly about it. Never.) My personal life and psyche were affected, and I've was immediately shunned by several others in this community, who chose to believe the nonsense which was being spewed out about me. However, a few genea-angels convinced me to stick around, and I have, though the potential for me to ever feel as open or trusting with others I may meet here has likely been permanently damaged.
So, why am I discussing this now, one might ask? The reason is because during those dark days, when I chose not to back away from the community, I privately gave myself until now - my one year blogiversary - to decide whether or not it is best, or even healthy for me to remain a genea-blogger. I have prayed about this to Him who gives me strength, but until this very moment, I don't think I clearly heard His answer.
This will be my last post on, "Into the LIGHT" for some time. I know that I will return because this blog has been an outlet for the writer inside me - she who has been somewhat buried since my young-adult years, when I easily (and often) recorded my thoughts and created poetry on paper. I have no regrets, since for me, all things become a learning experience.
I will continue to keep up with all of you via my reader, and will (for now) continue to check in on Twitter. To my faithful subscribers, and especially to those who so often leave comments, I THANK YOU, and I pray that you will still be around when I return.