I have noticed several people who have their profiles set to private or their comments moderated. This is always a bit amusing to me because it sort of defeats one of the greatest tools and advantages of joining GenealogyWise and that is the ability to make connections and thereby expand your research or break down a brick wall.
On general sites such as My Space or Facebook (both of which I am a member), I certainly understand setting your profile to private, however on GW, where everyone here is a genealogist to one degree or another, it boggles my mind.
Using the groups as an example, there are over 3000 groups now. No one could possibly visit each group to see if they wanted to join or not. Well, I guess you could if you had nothing better to do and lots of time on your hands, but I'd rather spend that time researching or creating graphics to use here.
So, the next best way would be to type in the surnames you were researching and see if a group has been formed for that name. Ok...cool and easy. But what about the groups which are more specific to occupations or locations?
I started the group "My ancestor was a Preacher", because I have several ancestors who were preachers, ministers or circuit riders. Or how about the "Sheriffs" group for ancestors who were Sheriffs, Marshalls, Deputies, etc? Would anyone think to do a search for "Sheriffs"? (Probably only as a surname.)
If a person is experienced with research on the Internet, they would probably know to type in different words to see if a group had been formed for whatever they were needing, beside surnames. Take for instance, Footnote. This is a great site for researching documents (or that is mainly what I use it for), but the search engine they use is a bit awkward for me and I thought surely there is someone who has mastered the site and could help me and others navigate through it. To that end I created the "*footnote users" group. But would you think to search for this group if you were new to GenealogyWise or if you were a new or intermediate researcher?
So, when I visit the newest members to say "Welcome" to GW or to add a "Happy Birthday" wish, and I come across a private profile, it causes me to wonder if they really understand the power and potential of this site?
GenealogyWise is not just a wonderful social networking site for people who share the hobby or profession of genealogy but it can be the vehicle to break down those long standing brick walls, connect distant relatives who never knew about one another and a great source of history not found in the books.
For me, this site is best used when we are all buzzing around at once, like those new Sprint commercials advertizing the "Now Network G4".
I mean, really, why join a genealogy site where sharing information is a key, just to close yourself off from potential friends, family and new information?Just my: