It's the Monday before RootsTech! Ahh! I've been waiting and preparing for months for this week. My stomach is full of anticipation and I should probably start packing, but I'd rather blog! I thought since I've been asked to be a RootsTech ambassador that I would start the week off by telling you a bit more about this super cool conference. Later in the week, I'll be doing my best to "cover" the event here on my blog and via Instagram. There are so many keynotes, classes and events that I'm looking forward to attending and I'm even going to ask you to help me choose a few classes to attend and share, ie. YOU tell me what you're interested in (tomorrow's post!)
Friday, I was invited to call-in to an informational introduction to RootsTech and I learned some things. So, let's play a round of Did You Know?
- RootsTech is NOT a genealogy conference, so much as it is a FAMILY conference with a primary focus on technologies that are being used (and being developed) to strengthen family connections, past, present and future. This really appeals to me, because I've experienced it with my own family. When I was a little girl, the only way to truly connect with my cousins and extended family (who were spread out across several states) was through a big, family reunion. Now, with the Internet and social media, I am watching my children (daily) connect with cousins and grandparents, and I know in addition to just enjoying these connections, they also draw strength from them.
- RootsTech is the largest conference of it's kind in the world. Organizers and sponsors are anticipating between 9,500 and 10,000 paid attendees. Wow! The only other gathering of this magnitude is Who Do You Think You Are, which is held annually in the UK.
- All of the keynote presentations and many of the other RootsTech sessions will be streamed live at rootstech.org, beginning this Thursday, February 12th. You can look forward to hearing from the likes of Former First Lady Laura Bush, author, human guinea pig and awesome TED presenter, AJ Jacobs and entertainer, Donny Osmond. Anywhere from 50,000 to 120,000 people viewed these streamed sessions last year.
- On Wednesday, RootsTech is hosting an Innovators Summit, which will be a Shark-Tank like experience designed to both encourage and fund developers who are creating family-based apps. Friday, after the keynote session, a winner will be announced and receive $25,000!
- If you're a scrapbooker, then you'll be excited to know that both Becky Higgins and Rhonna Farrer will be teaching sessions too.
And finally, if you're a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints then you'll be especially interested in Saturday's sessions that are part of a Family Discovery Day, which will be live-streamed on lds.org. Organizers are anticipating an additional 13,000 people to attend this FREE event on Saturday.
Hopefully you can see WHY I was so excited to be invited to come and present. Just getting my foot in the door and having a chance to share my passion for family stories and personal connections is HUGE for me. And I'm thrilled (on top of that) to be asked to share my experience online, as an ambassador. So, stay tuned! I'll sign off today with this touching video about the importance of loving and using and preserving our photos and stories ...
p.s. I chose a custom image to introduce this video—to personalize it, because isn't that what we are supposed to do with family history?! Pictured from left to right, is ... my Aunt Shirley, my Grandpa, James McDougal, my Mom (Connie Hall), my Uncle Bob and my Grandma Wanda Jensen McDougal. circa 1955