I’d like to use a little analogy to open up a discussion about an opportunity we have in the Ancestry World Archives Project community.
Have you ever watched a child learn how to walk? I just spent the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law and my four, adorable nephews. The youngest is just ten months old. Do you just love this face?
This little one is pulling himself up and walking around the edges of the furniture on his chubby, little legs. It’s really too cute. A couple of times this weekend I would set him down on his feet and hold his hands and walk him around. Every time I let go he immediately plunked himself down and looked at me as if I was crazy. I’d pick him up again and cheer him on as he tried to take a few steps. I’d let go and he’d plunk himself down again. It’s a process repeated over and over with children the world round. And, I imagine that this one will be not just walking but running around to keep up with his older brothers in no time.
What I can’t imagine is scolding him for falling down while he’s learning to walk. I can’t imagine criticizing his efforts or telling him he’s doing it all wrong. I certainly can’t imagine telling him to sit still while his older brothers run around and play and just watch them show him how it’s done until he can run and keep up.
We all experienced this process when learning how to walk. But, we experience it over and over again in our lives anytime we learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby. First we crawl, then we walk, then we run.
The unique challenge we have in the Ancestry World Archives Project community is this – we have over 700 new keyers joining us each and every week. Some of them, because of previous experience, truly hit the ground running. But, the majority of them are still very much in the crawling stage. So, my questions are these:
How can we, as a community, be better at encouraging these new keyers? How can we hold their hands and help them take those first steps? How can we cheer them on? And how can we refrain from telling them to just sit there and watch the rest of us run around when they really want to get in there and play, too?
I’d love to hear from some of our more experienced community members about what you think we can do. But, I’d really love to hear from some of our newer keyers about what you need from the rest of us.
Until next time – Happy Keying!