Jan 262012

Thomas MacEntee has posted an Open Thread Thursday topic: What is Your RootsTech Strategy?

If you are attending RootsTech, what are your plans to not only participate in sessions and experience the Expo Hall, but to also report on the happening via social media? Will you post to your blog each day or several times a day?  Will you give a recap at the end of RootsTech? Or will you use social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter? And what are your goals in attending RootsTech?

Since there are two questions (over-all plans and reporting plans), I’ll try to answer both. 

My Basic Approach:

I just finished Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.  Isaacson reports that Jobs adopted the motto: “Think Different” and later added: “Accept Uncertainty.”  I expect to be challenged to “Think Differently” at RootsTech.  There will likely be an information overload.  That will certainly present enough “Uncertainty” that my ability to accept it will be challenged.  So, I will venture to think differently and accept uncertainty as I wend my way through keynotes, workshops, exhibits, break-out sessions, unconferencing, and interaction with other attendees. 

My overall strategy:  
1.  I will be attending RootsTech with my son, Russell.  (He is the IT specialist of our two member genealogy project; I am the field researcher and data manager.)  This will be our first joint conference.  Top priority will be the reciprocal sharing of our learnings – his on the developers side; mine, the users.  I hope we will also have time to discuss the continuing development of our website (including the installation of Joomla and WordPress).

2.  I will arrive in Salt Lake City on Tuesday evening and leave on Monday morning.  This will allow me to spend significant time in the Family History Library.  I will be viewing microfilms for a number of ancestral towns in Baden (Adelshofen, Neipperg, Stetten, Sulzfeld, Kurnbach, Leonberg, Schoeckingen) to expand and validate data for ancestors of my 3g-grandmother, Johanna Catarina Venninger.  Perhaps in this search I will also be able to learn more about her husband, Georg Friedrich Brenner.

3.  I hope to meet a fair number of other geneabloggers and vendors.  I have a short list of “must meets!” and a lot of open space at the bottom of the list to fill in as I go. 

My reporting strategy:
My previous experience with attending national conventions as a regional denominational executive and reporting to the folks back home has shown me how exhausting that can be.  So, I have only minimal expectations of reporting while on sight.  My gifts as a reporter are in the capacity to sum up a corporate experience and report it in a coherent manner to both attendees and non-attendees.  While I am intrigued with Thomas’ idea of micro blogging, I have avoiding that avenue up to now.  I do not have a Twitter account.  I use Facebook and Google+ to promote my blog posts, but not to do micro reporting.

What I expect to do, in the aftermath of RootsTech 2012, is to put new learnings, gleaned at RootsTech 2012, to work in my genealogical research and report the effect of those learnings in blog posts in the next few months (perhaps for the next year).  Previous experience suggests that I quickly integrate new learnings (not just in genealogy) into my practices and I usually find myself teaching / reporting those new learnings rather quickly.  Hopefully, that will continue to be the case as I return from RootsTech 2012, continuing to think differently and accepting uncertainty.

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