Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Can genealogy be sold as "fun"?

Prolific geneablogger James Tanner at Genealogy's Star:

Attempts to involve the masses in genealogy because it is fun and easy will fail simply because it is neither. "Fun" is an elusive word. I like satisfying, fulfilling, challenging, inspirational, intriguing and other terms a lot more than fun. Hard work is not "fun" by definition and genealogy is hard work.
Read the whole thing -- there's a lot more. It's an in-depth post.

Still, my first thought was, tell that to Ancestry.com. Maybe "fail" is an elusive word too!

What little I have heard of Ancestry's official position is that genealogy has to be accessible first of all (hence those awful "You don't need to know what you're looking for" commercials). That is a reasonable point. For sure I wouldn't start a beginners' class by trying to explain the layer upon layer of indirect evidence in Tom Jones's "Inferential Genealogy" (talk F-95 at Philadelphia FGS).

Perhaps the sophisticated marketing view is that if enough people are attracted to genealogy by superficial promises, then some will stay long enough to get hooked on the hard work, and to keep ACOM stock on the move. What do the marketing pros think?

James Tanner, "Some basic principles of genealogy," Genealogy's Star, posted 8 July 2012 (http://genealogysstar.blogspot.com : accessed 9 July 2012).

Harold Henderson, "Can genealogy be sold as 'fun'?," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 10 July 2012 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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