- “ I don’t usually go to RootsTech. The classes are too simplistic.”
- “I hate explaining what we do over and over again to new people. I prefer the conferences where everyone already knows what we do.”
- “ Saturday at RootsTech is annoying. All those kids don’t care about what we do. They just want to gather the swag.”
- “I can’t stand the crowds. Too much chaos.”
- “This isn’t our clientele. Our [society/organization/company] isn’t for beginners.”
The genealogy community now has a choice. I submit to you that if we reject these newcomers to our community, we do so at our own peril. To discard them will cause your [society/organization/company] to wither up and die. Like quilters’ conventions (which draw huge crowds to a very complicated craft) we need to embrace all levels and all kinds of people at our events. Consumers, societies, companies, vendors, and attendees all need to REALLY embrace them.
What can you do to make them feel welcome? Quilters’ conventions are a great example I’ve talked about in the past. At quilters’ conventions, professionals love to share their ideas with newcomers. If we want to survive, I think we need to make this work. It may take a new focus or some updates to our business models, but how else will we bring in new business?
So, did I hear these comments right? Were these people actually rejecting a crowd of 22,000 people who showed up to find out about what we do? I’m hoping I misunderstood. I hope I just wasn’t tuned in to the overwhelming joy that surely must have been humming around that hall. Personally, I’m in—I’m all in. I am happy to reinvent, make accessible and do whatever I can to make every one of those 22,000 learn about how exciting family history is. Like I said in my earlier post, if I can offer swag, load up on bags of candy, invent games, and make this experience inviting so that the beginners and youth come back next year with a little more knowledge and some excitement to come to the conference again, I’m all in. I’ll say it again: If, as a genealogy vendor you felt like this wasn't your market, you need to make it your market. New market is good. Let's grow!
I must have had a busy exhaustion fog blocking my hearing. Let’s hope so.