mormon – Stay N Alive

Sample Proposals for RootsTech Presentations – Which Would You Choose?

I’m putting together a proposal for a presentation or two at RootsTech, a conference put on by around family history technologies. The focus will be on Social Media. I have a few ideas – what else do you think would be interesting in terms of interesting uses of social media for family history?

Opening the Web for Humanity (This would actually make a great Keynote if they’re interested) – This would cover ways to make our human data more open, more searchable, and easier to find. I would talk about ways to help Google recognize individual ancestor records better, and ways to help Google and other search engines traverse the social connections available for each family history record on the internet.

Facebook – It’s Not Just for the Living – In this presentation I’ll show how to use Facebook as a way to not only connect living individuals to each other, but ways people can use Facebook Pages, Events, and Groups to connect people around historical records. I’ll also show ways people can turn their own individual records on their own websites into Facebook Pages and store timelines of information about each individual in history.

Facebook for the Living – I’ll show unique ways people can use Facebook Timeline and Groups for storing records about living individuals. I’ll share experiences I’ve had with storing my own personal history on Facebook, tagging old friends, uploading old photos, and getting back in touch with my past as a result.

Connecting the Living to the Dead Through Social Media – This will be a much broader presentation on all the different means of using social media for identifying living connections to identify dead connections. I’ll show examples of ways companies have identified the dead through the social graph of living connections we have. I’ll show other companies and products that are using social media in unique ways to collaborate and identify dead ancestors through social media.

What do you think? Any other presentations you’d like to see? I will likely only pick one, but I’m going to submit a few to see which they prefer.

As Goes the Publisher, So Goes the Conference

Seth Godin is known as a leader in trends, particularly surrounding marketing and the new wave of media.  That’s why Godin deciding his 13th book, Linchpin, will be his last traditionally published book is a big deal.  I think it seals the deal – not just that publishers aren’t quite as needed as they used to (I have had a great relationship with the publishers of my 3 books – don’t worry, no plans on switching yet!), but that either the publishing industry is going to need to change in order for other authors not to follow suite, or they will die.  The big guy isn’t needed any more.  The modern publishing world is all about the individual, and there are so many ways to “go it alone” yet still cooperate with all the needed vendors that make moves like Godin’s make sense.

That’s why Brigham Young University (BYU) Football, a top 10 BCS team from last year, may actually be able to pull off leaving the MountainWest Conference and going solo, as they announced they were going to do today.

I’m actually somewhat (yet not) surprised that more “Social Media Analysts” aren’t evaluating this move by BYU right now.  This is the essence of Social Media.  Social Media is about the individual.  It’s about empowering people, or in this case “the little guy” to be able to make it against the bigger powers and gain the exposure they need without the need for any type of big entity to control their efforts in doing so.

Conference politics aside, this move by BYU makes sense.  Now they have no contractual obligations on who can display their games.  Now they can play their games online, on their own site.  Now they have no worries, whatsoever, about their school policy of not playing on Sundays.  Now they get to choose who they play year-to-year, and based on their history (numerous Bowl games, wins, and a National Championship), they’re good enough to find people that will play them!  Now they can put their brand online and not have to worry about the Conference approving.

Here’s the kicker though – I think if BYU plays their cards right, uses Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and especially their own website to truly promote their games and their content, they could just be able to completely have the flexibility they need to innovate in this space.  What happens if BYU is able to prove as a result of this that going it alone brings way more money and much more viewers than any lone Conference can give?  That may have sounded crazy years ago, but this year it might actually be possible.

I think we’re about to see the start of a trend here.  That trend’s not only in Football, but in almost any industry.  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for instance, also did this recently by becoming their own music label.  You see the same with artists like Nine Inch Nails, RadioHead, and many others that are now able to go without “the big guy” and survive completely solo without a problem.  It takes guts, but I admit I don’t think it takes nearly as much guts to do such a thing as it used to.  We’re in a social world now, interconnected, where everyone has a voice.  I expect many others to follow.

What BYU is doing is the essence of Social Media.

Disclosure: In my day job, I am currently working as the Social Media Architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While they are currently my employer, this article by no means represents any official announcement, declaration, proclamation, or doctrine on behalf of the Church.  All claims or topics written are solely my own opinion and not the opinions or official word of the LDS Church.  To be clear, regardless of my day job, I am still a member of the Church and I still believe its teachings and will always have beliefs to share surrounding the Church and its teachings.  What I write here should be considered as such.

Who are the Mormons?

MormonFor those of you unaware, I am Mormon.  I try not to preach the religion topic too much on this site unless it has to do with Technology, but I did realize there wasn’t much on this blog talking about who I am and what I believe in.  I’m hoping to correct that and while I certainly don’t want to impose, I want you to be able to find out about it if you choose to learn.  For that reason, I’ve created a dedicated Page on this blog to this topic, and I hope you don’t hesitate to ask questions.

I may also at some point share my personal thoughts about the subject – it is a very personal topic that I think is worth sharing at some point.  My faith expands to my very root and core, and goes way beyond my belief (which I feel strongly about). It is something I was born into.  It is something my Ancestors practiced as they were persecuted for their beliefs in the early days of US History.  It is something I have challenged and tried and gained my own testimony of as I have grown up and learned of my own freedoms and choices.  It is something that “just makes sense” to me, and having travelled the world I have yet to find anything (while there are many good things out there) that matches what we believe.  This is something that is very much a part of me, just as much as my passion for technology and new media.

I hope you spend some time checking out the section I added on the right, “Learn About the Mormon Church“.  In addition, be sure to check out the official Mormon topic Page on that was just released, talking about who a Mormon is, what the term means, and why we are who we are.  This is something very important to me, and while I respect we all have varying opinions and beliefs, I hope you can at least learn something from it.

Here are some useful links:

What Mormons Believe

Learn About the Mormons

What is “A Mormon”?

Read the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price Online

Read the Gospel Library on your Mobile Phone

Please, if this inspires you or you feel inclined, don’t hesitate to click “like” above or share it with your friends! (Retweet, post on Facebook, etc.)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

In these hard economic times, we all need a little reboot on what’s really important.  Christian, Jew, Muslim, or none-of-the-above, this video produced by my church, while from a Christian’s perspective, really sets things straight – it’s the little things!:


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you from me and my family.

Dooce Isn’t the Only One That Can Show Pretty Pictures of Utah

I stepped outside today (gasp!) to get some weeding done and prepare our Garden for the end of spring planting I’m going to be doing and just couldn’t resist finding my camera and taking pictures of the Flowers. This is from the Weeping Cherry tree in our front yard. And yes Dooce, the Mormons are winning (You will be assimilated). 😉  You can see more over here.

Weeping Cherry Blossoms