What did I Learn from RootsTech Day One

I registered late on day zero, a day specially for developers, and collected the nice shoulder bag with brochures supplied by many of the sponsors. Being a bag junkie I have loads of bags so I would really like to give it away. Reuse, recycle, etc. If you are at RootsTech and did not get a bag with your registration leave a comment below so we can connect up.

With a bad cold and partly not wanting to spread too many germs around I decided to sleep in until my body was ready to wake up so I arrived for the 10.30am talk on Google+ missing the opening presentation.

I have been interested in building a better relationship with my readers with Google+ since the last Problogger conference where many speakers recommended adding Google+ to a bloggers social media tools. The talk was by Jesse Stay who filled in for another Google+ team member who could not come because of a family emergency. This is a picture he shared through Google Glass.

Source: Jesse StayGoogle+ page with RootsTech Audience

Source: Jesse Stay Google+ page with RootsTech Audience

So what did I learn? Google, because of it’s range of product, e.g., Gmail, google search, YouTube, Hangouts and loads more can connect social groups over a wide range of products using tools that are useful in connecting different types of content with groups. Great if you want to create content for specific purposes.

Google believe that it is more than leaving a comment on Twitter or Facebook but real collaboration using Google tools so you can get some depth in the sharing. For example collaborating with family via Google Hangouts to discover more by sharing. Not just leaving a passing comment “I found a new ancestor” that people like. Also the ability to use google products like Webmaster and Analytics can make your blogging more powerful by understanding where you are successful, what works with your readers and more.

The number of products in the Google range they are connecting together really stood out for me. Google seems to have new products all the time. One Jesse mentioned was Google Helpouts. A product that can be used to help others online and even charge in some cases, mentioned Jesse. Helpouts connects people who need help with people who can give help over live video. You can get help across multiple topics right from your PC or mobile device. This might be an opportunity for Professional Genealogical Researchers to increase their potential market. I tested the word “genealogy” and nothing was found so it is an opportunity perhaps.

Although I knew this already, Google authorship is something all bloggers should sign up for as this improves the search results for your writings. I must do this!!! Which bring me to another point I got from Jesse, the more you integrate Google products into your blogging the better search results you get with Google.

Elaine xx From findmypast.com

Elaine Collins from findmypast.com

I then attended the findmypast.com lunch. While the food was nothing to write about I sat at a table where the attendees networked and talked about their genealogical journeys and work. The lunch speakers, Elaine Collins and D. Joshua Taylor were light hearted and while not really providing new genealogical discoveries I though it was an entertaining speech for this audience.

What did I learn? You can introduce Dr WHO and the Tardis into any speech. Once Elaine mentioned this in their talk, it could not fail, in my eyes – being a Dr WHO fan from way back. They also showed how dedicated and eager the Findmypast team are to provide a great product while still having that personal touch.

From this I ventured around the RootsTech expo hall, which I will cover in another post.

Next I went to the talk by Elaine Collins, the lunchtime speaker, titled “Old World, New Records: findmypast.com as a Key Resource for Tracing British Ancestry. What did I learn? This talk gave me new insight into their product especially if you have ancestors from Britain or Ireland. Full of examples of the type of material to be found on FindMyPast and new content coming, this is a product I will look at more closely at in the future having British ancestors.

The last presentation I attended on day one was FlipBoard for Genealogy: Create Incredible Mobile Magazines of Your Favorite Genealogy Web Content. This was a lab with computers you could use as Lisa Louise Cooke explained about creating a magazine using the app FlipBoard. Lisa’s talk was friendly, adapted readily to the audience skill levels and I am sure most attendees managed to follow what could be a technical talk to some while tech savvy people like me also learned some new skills.

TravelGenee meets Genealogy Gems

TravelGenee meets Genealogy Gems

Being a big fan of Lisa’s podcasts I just had to get my photo with her even if the bags under my eyes showed my lack of sleep from the cold. After seeing Lisa’s talk I am an even bigger fan. She has a great way of sharing technology, tools and methods with her ” genealogy gems” to aid your family history travels.

What did I learn from Lisa’s presentation? Ready to go lessons: I will be able to create magazines for FlipBoard with ease. Once I have documented more of my family history, a day at a time, I will be creating magazines to share with family and friends.A high number of people that walked out at the end without logging out of FlipBoard. Clearly we need to learn better habits with privacy and protecting our online assets. Fortunately most of the people here seem really nice and would not hack get into the computers left signed on however it is a habit we need to get into – logging off when using public computers. At the local library, airport lounges and more places we need to be tech smart.

Finally I have learnt what a great job the bloggers do at events. I have meet at the Problogger conferences, mentioned earlier, bloggers that share the events in detail and continue with their own blogging so not to disappoint their regular audiences. It has taken me ages to write this up so I am in awe of them. They share blog posts during the conference and at the same time they also manage to be twittering, facebooking, instagramming great food shots, people and more, have meetings, network and look totally awesome. In particular I need to thank, being inspirations to me, Donna from Socially Sorted and Nikki from Styling You. I am sure the official Rootstech bloggers are also sharing with expertise. Official RootsTech bloggers include our Australian blogger Jill Ball AKA Geniaus. As for me I hope to post with not too many typos and get reading their blogs tonight.

So this is just a few tips, things I observed and some of my views about Day 1 at Rootstech at Salt Lake City I the USA.

What did you learn? Any tips for attending conferences?

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