Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Few Thoughts on I Remember by Footnote

Today Footnote.com stepped deeper into the arena of social networking with the launch of I Remember, a Facebook application aimed at helping Facebook users connect and share memories of loved ones.

By taking I Remember to Facebook, Footnote.com has found a way to extend beyond the genealogy niche and reach out to those who may have never visited Footnote or attempted to research their family tree.

About it's new product, Foonote say "Few events in life generate the emotions and memories as does the passing of a friend, family member or colleague. However, without the appropriate tools and forum to preserve and share these memories, a loved one’s legacy may be lost. Now with I Remember, Facebook users can create a meaningful experience to honor those individuals that had an impact on their lives."

There will likely be varying opinions as to whether I Remember is the appropriate tool to preserve memories and honor loved ones. But often changes are made in small steps, and I think a step into I Remember for a non-genealogist may just be the step they need to gain further interest in their ancestors.

Russell Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com describes it this way, "A big challenge with gathering memories and stories together is getting everyone to contribute and share in one place. Facebook helps eliminate that barrier by bringing millions of people together on a daily basis. The I Remember application simply leverages Facebook’s successful platform so friends and family can participate in remembering people that meant the most to them.”

And I think that's really the heart of the issue. When companies like familylink.com and Footnote.com bring family history into social networking platforms like Facebook the joy of genealogy has a way to reach the masses. And that's a good thing.

It also helps Footnote.com build valuable content on it's website. When you post on I Remember in Facebook you are simultaneously posting on Footnote. It will be interesting to see whether users fully grasp that concept and how they feel about it. However, this is definitely the trend when it comes to the Internet. And for Footnote it gets everyone who dabbles with I Remember one step closer to Footnote.com. A savvy business plan!

Footnote describes how it works this way:
"Using I Remember, Facebook users can share stories, upload photos, post comments and add facts about an individual. These facts will automatically generate a timeline of the individual’s life and a map detailing important places and events. Further, shared information will undoubtedly spark more memories. Soon a robust page can be created through the simple efforts of a few people coming together. For an example of an I Remember page, click here."

I gave I Remember a whirl today and created a page on Facebook (and therefore Footnote) for my grandmother Pauline Herring. As a lone contributor I found myself wondering how much I really wanted to add because it very quickly started feeling like I was just duplicating the effort I had put into my own genealogy database.

So I decided to invite my cousin Carolyn who is on Facebook and is the niece of Pauline. That's where I ran into the first bug - the Invite window didn't work properly and wouldn't allow me to type in a friends name. I imagine these problems will be quickly fixed by Footnote. But for now I will have to manually invite Carolyn to contribute to Pauline's page and see if it emerges as a "robust" profile of our ancestor.

To learn more about the I Remember application, go to http://go.footnote.com/iremember/
About Footnote.com


Peter, Product Manager, Footnote.com said...

Thanks for giving I Remember a whirl and writing about it. Sorry to hear about the trouble you had sharing.

Was it the "Which of your friends would remember Dominick" page that let's you select from your Facebook friends that wasn't working for you or were you trying to share another way?

That "Which of your friends..." page is a Facebook page that we can't really control, so hopefully it was somewhere else and we can sort it out.

Genealogy Gems said...

Yes, it was the "which of your friends would remember Pauline page that was malfunctioning. Perhaps that was due to launch congestion because I tried it again just now and it worked. Looking forward to seeing the results of my cousin adding to the profile.

Kate said...

I am already hooked on the I Remember app. I've added my grandparents and am nagging my cousions on Facebook to join in the I Remember fun. I am so pleased with how it works and the look of it is very clean and appealing.