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Reflections, Week 3

by on July 17, 2011

I’m thinking about social media and a topic for my midterm paper. I’ve seen new possibilities that I haven’t considered before.

Three factors guided me in the choice of my topic. The first were the readings over the past sever weeks. A couple of items in our reading have really touched me, and stayed with me. The first was Bowling Alone, with Putnam’s concept of increasing isolation and lack of social connections, along with the potential for filling that void with social media. The next was the Virtual Choir – it was very moving to see all those individuals working together to create something beautiful. The last was the reading this week on Empowering Youth. I was very impressed to see the power of social media being used to reach out and help others.

So, what about application to other areas? If Eric Whitacre could create a choir, could we create an expanded social learning community? In addition to beautiful music, can social media to create and reinforce family connections, and create an online family community? You may know that my project is on family history. As I pondered the readings, I thought about application to my project topic. I have been wondering about the usefulness of social media in this area. I have been exploring its power to provide education in this area, and am now adding the concept of creating online learning communities to learn more about yourself through these family connections.

Finally, the support and encouragement of my group team when I proposed this topic helped the ideas come together in my head, and I am very appreciate of their feedback. The use of social media seems to have application to many areas of education, and this includes the area of family history education. I have found several publications that may have an interest in this subject. The voice and tone that I used in writing the paper will be chattier and more personal than I use in a class assignment, while still conforming to APA style. Thank you to my online learning support group for their help!


  1. Social isolation
  2. Creating connections through social media
  3. What is social media?
  4. Building relationships with living relatives
    1. Staying in contact with relatives
    2. Finding new relatives
    3. Building your biography online
  5. Finding lost ancestors
    1. Publishing online
    2. Establishing family name groups
    3. Developing research skills
    4. Learning online
  6. What story are you writing?
  7. Creating connections across time and space

Alice Boyd



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