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    Posted May 18, 2012 by
    Burbank, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living without Facebook?

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    Facebook and My Genealogical Roots


    This assignment is about why you are not on Facebook…. Well, let me tell you why I am still on this social media site…

    Like many people in this country and around the world, I am on Facebook.com, a well-known social media website. I have a profile that identifies me as a freelance journalist, originally from a Latin American country but currently residing in the Los Angeles area.

    Also I have a list of about 250 contacts, labeled “Friends”, most of whom are members of my family, close and extended. I play “Scrabble” and “Words with Friends” in that site and there are several group pages that I have “liked.”

    However, I never post comments to say how I feel, where I am and what I'm eating at that moment. I don’t talk about the weather, upload photos of myself or do anything that most people currently do on Facebook. I only post links to news and articles of interest, hoping that some of my 250 friends will see them and comment. Generally 10 respond.

    Some might wonder, what are you doing on Facebook? The answer is very simple: I am looking for my roots.

    Yes, you heard right: I am looking for my roots.

    Nearly three years ago I decided to start building my family tree, on a website similar to Facebook, with the little information I had gathered from my parents and grandparents. I knew that our family had spread out and the search would be a mammoth task for one simple reason: I live in the United States while the rest of them are back home.


    For some time I had noticed the growing popularity of Facebook—I had even opened an account but I had never logged in again since the day I opened it—so I started thinking: "If the entire world is on Facebook, some of my extended family must be there. I will try to find them. "

    That’s where I began the search. I just had to look for my closest cousins and, from there, check their Friends’ list. If there was someone with the name I was looking for, I contacted that person and invited him to participate in the online family tree I was building. By the way, I only had 50 people when I began to build the tree but now I have located 327 relatives and I'm still finding more.


    Critics of Facebook say it is a medium that doesn’t allow direct face-to-face interaction between people... and that may be true. Nowadays, we prefer to hide behind a screen instead of showing our feelings in person.


    But we cannot deny that Facebook has also served to connect people who have not seen each other in years, to meet relatives nobody knew they had or to get knowledge through the Facebook cultural pages for organizations and educational institutions.

    Many people may be surprised because others do not use Facebook. It may be normal for them, but for me it’s not a big deal because everyone chooses how to live their social life. Still, I also understand this reaction because it must be like my reaction when I hear that—in the second decade of the 21st century—someone does not have or use e-mail...

    Everyone is judged on their own terms…

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