Using Social Media to Record Family History

When I say the words “family history” what kind of mental image pops into your head?  Probably not a smart phone and facebook, right?  But did you know that every time you post anything about your life on a social media account you are actually preserving your own history?

You may think this is stretching it a bit, but think back in your family timeline to a relative who has passed away – how much do you really know about that relative?  How much would you like to know?

Dennis Brimhall, president and CEO of Family Search International, said something I found interesting during his keynote at RootsTech 2013.  He said, “What will your great great grandkids wish you would have recorded about your life?”

To put that in perspective, what do you wish your great great grandmother would have recorded about her life?  Or your great uncle’s cousin twice removed on your dad’s side for that matter?  Wouldn’t it be neat to be able to see what their day to day lives were like?  The things they got excited about?  The things that made them stronger, better, happier?

When you’re gone from the world, it will be amazing for your great great grandkids to be able to read through your old facebook posts, instagram pictures, blog posts, etc. and learn about you.  And not because you’ve done something huge and earth shattering, but because of the way you lived your life and what you shared with your friends and family online.

Of course this means that maybe we should slightly censor what we post online.  I mean, we should probably already be doing some censoring, right?   That’s just common sense (and courtesy).  But maybe think, “Do I want my grandkids to repeat this?” before you post something.  On the other hand, we should make sure that our posts and pictures reflect who we really are. 

For instance, I have a habit of making my kids stand in front of the one clean spot in the room when I’m taking pictures for online purposes; but what do I really want my posterity to remember about me – that my house is always clean?  Or that my life is full and a little crazy and we fill our time with memories instead of chores?  Some of those memories are good, some are bad, and some are just meh – but they’re still memories, so they count.  (And I’d still rather have them than chores.)

The point I’m trying to make is I think  future generations (plus current friends and family) just want to see the genuine every day moments that make you YOU.  Moments that are happy, uplifting, exciting, discouraging, silly, WHATEVER.   Social media is super accepting and takes pretty much anything you want to show or say.

Just remember, the next time you’re updating a status or snapping a picture with your smart phone, you’re doing it for your great great grandkids too.

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