Blogging 201 – Day 6 – Dig Deep into a Social Network

I was really happy when I saw today’s assignment. Who doesn’t love finding out that you’ve already done the homework before it was even assigned. Yep – sometimes it works that way. For some reason the blogging gods and goddesses were smiling on me – maybe it was my reward for finally tackling a household chore that I’ve been putting off for about 4 months – but whatever the reason, it was a pleasant surprise.

I spent Saturday doing a major garage cleaning to make space for a roomful of furniture that will arrive later today when my son moves home. He just finished four years at University and will be living at home while he figures out what to do next. Our daughter did that when she graduated four years ago and it worked out pretty well. So we are empty-nesters no more – at least temporarily.

But back to the topic at hand. After a full day of heavy lifting and being on my feet all day Saturday – I decided to spend most of Sunday morning in bed (one of my favorite places to write) creating a Facebook page for my family history blog.  Trovando Famiglia I’d already completed several Facebook posts to the new page by the time I read today’s assignment so I was feeling slightly ahead of the curve.  Now to tackle the rest of the assignment – creating a plan for how I’ll use my main social network over the next 30 days.

It turns out that several of the new cousins we’ve discovered since my husband had his DNA tested are friends on my personal Facebook page, so that provided a ready audience of potential new “friends.” There is a core group who are loyal followers of the blog but I hope the FB format will make it easier for others to join the conversation. The challenge is to provide interesting features to attract new readers and keep existing friends engaged, without inundating their Newsfeed with ideas that seem silly.  I will obviously link each blog post to the FB page but I want to have fresh content that is tailored specifically to the Facebook format.

Here are a few of my ideas so far:

1. A monthly theme – with a request for readers to share their recollections around that theme. For example – August is the month a lot of families take a summer vacation. In August I will ask folks to share their favorite family vacation memory.

Family Vacation to Washington DC on July 4, 2012
Family Vacation to Washington DC on July 4, 2012

It gives them an easy way to write about something that involves our common ancestors but in a way that may be easier than asking – “Tell me about your mother and father – or – what do you remember about Grandma Custode?”

2. One day of the week when I share a picture or copy of a document that I’ve found while doing family history research. Maybe someone’s birth or death certificate or the ship’s log that shows the name of our great grandfather and his young son when he brought his son over from Italy in 1904.

Adrian and Nicola Giorgio arrived in New York in December 1904 (See lines 24 and 25)
Adrian and Nicola Giorgio arrived in New York in December 1904 (See lines 24 and 25)

3. Provide links to related sites. My husband’s ancestors immigrated to western PA from San Vito Chietino on the east coast of Italy. I think it will be interesting to add links to Italian tourism sites or even things as simple as Italian phrases. This might actually draw in other FB friends who are not necessarily interested in the Giorgio family story but who knows where that may lead. (I’m still waiting for the relatives who still live in Italy to be in touch!)

4. Feature a particular ancestor each week. Believe me, with the size of this family, I have plenty of content to have a new Facebook post every week for a LOOONG time! Many of the relatives we’ve met who follow the blog knew the people I write about (i.e. Grandma Custode even though they knew her as Grandma Christine) but didn’t know the details that I’m able to provide by the historical documents I find – the declaration of intent to become a citizen, birth certificates, death certificates, who was in the household in the 1920 census and so forth. Right now, I’m doing a weekly feature on the blog that provides details on each of the four branches of the Giorgio family that came from Italy, but the FB ancestor spotlight would be a good way to focus on an individual. I think I might even have “Custode’s Corner” specifically devoted to what I learn about her – she’s already garnered 4 posts on the blog – here’s one to give you an idea why. One Tough Lady – Custode Iacobucci

So now I need my editorial calendar for my blog and a schedule of posts for the Facebook Page, but in a way, it might be better to create them at the same time since they relate to each other. (Sometimes it works out to procrastinate on an assignment too!)

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