Goodbye Blogfrog

A couple of years ago I linked this blog to a community site called Blogfrog. It provided discussion forums where you could discuss family history in general, or ask questions that were unrelated to any particular post on this blog. You could click on the logo down the right sidebar, and join in discussions. Only no one ever did.

BlogfrogI thought it might be a replacement for MyBlogLog, which performed a useful function, but then was taken over by Yahoo! and then closed down.  There was another such site, called BlogCatalog, which is still there (you can see it down the left sidebar), but it was revamped by some whizzkid who had no idea of what it was supposed to do, and it became dysfunctional. Blogfrog looked as though it might develop into something useful, but it hasn’t, and now the people who run it have decided to close it down.

According to the letter sent out by the people running the show:

We recognize that bloggers and their audiences are expanding their engagement beyond blogs to include more socially-driven content. In addition to engaging on blogs,  readers increasingly want to also engage on Facebook, Pinterest, and  Twitter and community owners are responding by building their audience, content and revenue there as well.

To support this evolution, we are discontinuing the community platform to focus our efforts on our influencer marketing platform. This means communities will no  longer be available after May 31st, 2013.

Do they seriously think that anyone believes weasel statements like “To support this evolution, we are discontinuing…”

Having annnounced just that they are going to discontinue it, they then say: “Remember, BlogFrog is STILL your product, we’re just building it for you.”

In what version of the English language does “discontinuing” mean “building”?

I thought I’d try Blogfrog on this blog to see if it would develop into something useful, and if it did, I might extend it to my other blogs. But it never did develop into anything useful. Instead they say this:

If you are not already a member of the Influencer Circle and are interested in working with brands, please join by completing our application form…

Working with brands?

Brands of what?

There are brands of motor cars, brands of ironing boards, brands of lawnmowers. I can understand someone being interested in lawnmowers, and thus being interested in brands of lawnmowers. But being interested in brands, unassociated with any product or device? That’s weird.

This letter from Blogfrog really does seem to encapsulate everything that is wrong with Western society, focusing on all the wrong things. It’s a weird sense of values — community is nothing, marketing is all.

Our family history wiki in 2012

Here are some statistics for our Family History Wiki in 2012.

The pages that had the most visitors were:

  1. 2184 – Jessie Koch, formerly Falkenberg, born Schultz
  2. 2063 – Morton family
  3. 1974 – Home Page
  4. 1815 – Alfred William Green discussion (bit of a mystery this)
  5. 1638 – Vause family
  6. 1555 – Frederick Thomas Green
  7. 1501 – Bagot family

It is a bit of a mystery why 1815 people (that’s nearly five people a day) should be drawn to a page for discussing Alfred William Green, but then completely fail to discuss him when they get there. By contrast, only 130 people visited the page that actually has information about Alfred William Green.

Jessie Schultz was Val’s great great grand mother, who came to South Africa from Germany in 1858, and it would be nice to know if any of the people who visited her page are related to us, but none of them is saying.

Here are some more general statistics for the site as a whole, and, sadly, they seem to indicate that collaborative family history research is not very popular:

WikiStat

That’s quite a lot of visitors, but the emptiness of the “Messages” section shows that the feedback is almost zero, which is why the edits are relatively few. If few people respond, there is little  motivation to add to the information.

So I’m still a bit disappointed. I thought the wiki format was ideal for family participation, and that other members of the family could help to contribute to information, especially with family stories and biographical information.

I hoped that some cousins might start their own wikis, where the relations we have in common could be linked across two wikis, and then their own wiki could branch out to the unlinked families on their side of the family. In that way we could have a whole network of interlinked family wikis. But somehow it has never reached critical mass, and never taken off.

But maybe this year will be different.

Would it be too much to hope for — that we could have one linked family wiki a month? Or even a quarter? Or perhaps even one for the whole year? It’s quite easy to start one on Wikispaces, but it doesn’t even have to be there, there are other wiki sites as well.

Family news, links, odds and ends

News of 2006

Check our family home page for general news and background, especially if you landed here without knowing who we are and are not sure if you know us.

Several friends and family members have sent us Christmas cards and letters, giving news of themselves and their doings, and this is a kind of response to them.

Val, after working for ADT security for 8 years, left for a new job at Telezero in July, at a considerable drop in pay. The advantage was that it was much closer to home, and spending four hours a day in traffic jams was just too much. She’s now resigned from Telezero, and is waiting for her new job to start.

Our daughter Bridget has just moved to a new house in Athens, close to the university, where she is studying for her master’s in theology. She had been working part-time translating books from Greek to English, and is hoping for a job with a big publisher.

Our sons Simon and Jethro are still living at home.

In 2006 we lost three dogs. Our younger dog, Alexa, took ill one morning in January and died before we could get her to the vet. Our other dog, Ariel pined, so we got an Alsatian puppy, Ralf, who died after we had him 12 days. We got him to the vet, and he died on the examination table, and the vet diagnosed biliary, which we think must have been what did in Alexa as well. We got another puppy, Mardigan, a few weeks later, and he was poisoned by the thieves who stole our Toyota Venture from the yard. We got him to the vet, and he seemed likely to recover, but the day after he got home, he had a relapse and died. We later got another puppy, called Samwise, and he is still with us.

In December with the blessing of our Archbishop Seraphim, Steve organised a youth conference with Fr Athanasius Akunda, the first Orthodox youth conference in our diocese. Click here for full report with pictures.

We had a double Christmas in 2006/7 — if you’d like to see more, with pictures, click here and here.

Blogs and blogrolling

If you look at the column on the right, you will see a “Blogroll” — that’s a list of blogs of people related to us. If you hover the cursor over the name of the blog, you should get a description of which branch of the family they belong to (and so be able to see if they are related to you too).

If you are related to us, and have a personal or family blog or web journal, please tell us about it, so that we can add it to the blogroll. If you just have a web page somewhere, please sign our guest book (you’ll also see it in the right-hand column) and put in a link to it, so that we can visit your page.

Comments and links

You can also leave comments about this and any other postings in this blog — you’ll see two places where you can leave comments, and read other comments. If there are no other comments it will say “0 comments”, but if you click on it, you can add your own comments. You may be asked to senter a series of letters, as a precaution against spam. Sometimes you have to do it twice before your comment is accepted, but it will tell you when your comment has been saved.

So there are plenty of ways of keeping in touch, and we hope we will hear from you!

Steve & Val Hayes

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