Sunday, February 10, 2013

Facebook Creates A Roadblock For Genealogists

 I have written before on how to use Facebook as a tool in your genealogical research. I have myself made many family connections simply by searching for them on Facebook and then sending them a private message. I send a general message stating that I am their 2nd cousin or what ever, they do not know me, but we share the same family tree and that I would like to be able to know more about them if possible to further my research. I always let them know that it is completely up to them to reply or not, that I am not a stalker, and only wish to make a family connection.

In this way, I have more often than not received immediate replies saying, "Oh my goodness I remember your grandparents, and your mother, we played together as children. How are they?" and so on. We then send each other friend requests and have since then kept up with one another. 

Even Ancestry has gotten into the Facebook and genealogy game by adding a little Facebook logo to check to see if  this person is on Facebook.

Now however, Facebook has changed this simple process by charging folks a dollar to send a message to a non friend on Facebook. So, how are you supposed to get someone to answer your friend request if they don't know you from Adam? You can't send a message first telling them who you are and WHY you are sending this request. Instead they give you the option of either spending a dollar or sending it to the users OTHER folder. I didn't even know I had an OTHER folder, and I doubt most people do either.

Now many of you are going to put this to a test today and you will see that you are asked to pay a dollar or that you still may be able to send messages normally since they are still in the test stages. I am unfortunately one who is being tested and frankly they are testing my patience!!

You can read about this change here at CBS NEWS.
Here is the link for Ancestry's Blog explaining how the Ancestry/Facebook connection works.

Sadly I will not be making any more genealogy connections through Facebook since I refuse to pay a dollar to send a message to a person. Hopefully, they will realize that this charge is a huge FAIL and will remove the dollar charge.

I would like to add that although some may argue that you could just as easily send a message to a person's other inbox... The problem with that is that most people you are sending messages to have no idea that there is another place to view and receive messages on Facebook. Most of us do not fully click into our mailbox page when we receive a message notification, usually you just hit the tab at the top, read and reply to any messages there. You would not see the "other" box unless you fully opened your page and then you would have to know to look for it. I myself had 12 messages in mine that I had no clue were there. Sadly many were from 2011. Poor folks thought I was ignoring them. This is what would likely happen to a person sending a message for a genealogy inquiry if having to send to the "other" inbox.
I should also state that before the decision to charge the dollar, I often received messages from complete strangers to my regular inbox whether they were in network or not. Which is where I decided to read them or place them in a spam folder. I honestly had no idea the "other" inbox existed.

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