Ronald D. Doctor
A few days ago, we announced that Ukraine SIG has established a
Facebook page. This announcement produced considerable comment and
raised some important issues and misunderstandings. I believe debate
and discussion of this is important, but when remarks become rancorous
and repetitive, little is gained by continuing them. That's why our
Discussion List Moderator believed it necessary to close the thread of
discussion. Some of you have written to me complaining about this, and
I have responded to some of those complaints privately. Now, I think
it is time to deal with your concerns publicly.
Let me try to address the most important issues that some of you
have raised and clear up some misconceptions.
* First, please be assured that our Facebook page is not designed or
intended to replace anything Ukraine SIG traditionally offers its
membership. We simply will not allow it to dilute the effectiveness
of our Discussion List. As I'll discuss later, the Facebook page is
just another way to enhance our activities, and, hopefully, to bring
new people, especially young people, into Jewish genealogy.
* Indications so far are that the Facebook page is bringing new
members to the Discussion List. Many people who have signed on
to the Facebook page have not been previously involved in any
way with Ukraine SIG. In the past few days 14 new people have
registered with Ukraine SIG's Discussion List. Normally, new
registrations average about one per week. We have had more
subscription activity on the discussion group over the past week
than we had in the previous three months.
* We are actively encouraging those who post on the Facebook
page to register with JewishGen, subscribe to our Discussion
List and post the surnames/towns they are researching to
JewishGen Family Finder (JGFF).
* No one on on our Discussion List will ever be required to sign
on to Facebook or any other social or business networking site
to get information >from the SIG or any of its readers. On the
contrary, much of what we offer on this List and on our Web
site will not be readily available on the Facebook site.
* Your posts on the Discussion List and personal information
that you have provided to JewishGen and to Ukraine SIG will
not be a part of Facebook unless you explicitly choose to post
Before I describe some of the exciting things that Facebook offers, I
have to tell you that some of my associates say I am a neo-Luddite. I
don't "text". I don't even have a Smartphone (although that is coming
soon). And, until this week, I have avoided Facebook. I simply have
not gotten into social media, except to the extent that our Discussion
List may fall into that category.
Although it has limitations, Facebook offers benefits for those who
subscribe to it. As you know we post photos, maps, tables and graphics
to our website. Sometimes there is a time lag >from when these items
are first submitted to when they actually appear. Not so with
Facebook, where these materials appear as soon as they are posted.
Please don't be concerned that you will miss out on these materials if
you don't subscribe to Facebook. We will ensure that all important
content sent to Facebook also is sent to our website. Our Facebook
page is just one more place to post items of interest, which you can
read at your leisure, or when the spirit moves you.
The same applies to new research developments, films, lectures and
books of Ukraine interest. Items like these will go to our Discussion
List and our website in addition to our Facebook page.
A significant advantage of Facebook over the Discussion List is that
Facebook postings are always there, and they don't clutter your Inbox.
You can check in periodically and simply scroll down to read all the
updates and any messages you may have missed on one page. You do not
have to search the Discussion List Archives to find older messages.
Material on Facebook shows up in Google searches more frequently than
Discussion List content. This means our Facebook page can be a great
outreach tool. It can enable non-genealogists who may be curious about
their Jewish ancestors >from Ukraine to find us. Then we can lead them
to the vast resources available online at Ukraine SIG and JewishGen.
Using all the social media tools at our disposal means that we have
more and better ways to communicate with the global community of
genealogists on a daily basis. Although we hope you'll try us on
Facebook, you don't have to do that. It is your choice. If you choose
to avoid Facebook, as I did until this week, you will not miss any
substantive materials or discussions. Everything you are familiar with
still will appear on our Discussion List and on our Website.
Everything we do, including the Facebook page is brought to you at no
cost, either to Ukraine SIG or to you individually. I hope you will
understand that Facebook takes nothing away >from what Ukraine SIG has
provided in the past and will provide in the future; it is merely
another way to reach out to people searching their roots.
If you choose to respond to this message, we will continue this
discussion until it becomes too repetitive. As you craft your
response, please be considerate of the other 2,700 people who
subscribe to this List and who may not want to read the same comments
over and over.
Please keep tuned in for more exciting new developments coming from
your re-vitalized Ukraine Special Interest Group.
Ronald D. Doctor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Coordinator, JewishGen Ukraine SIG
Researching DOCTOR (DIOKHTER), VARER, AVERBAKH, KORENFELD ... all from
Kremenets, Oleksinets, Yampol, Vishnevets
and KAZDOY (KOSODOY), DUBINSKI, DUBOWSKY ... all >from Kiev, Uman, Odessa