The other day I created a 5-generation colorful spreadsheet using Excel that literally went viral on social media the last few days. I saw hundreds of charts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and blogs. A lot of them were my friends, but then I started seeing friends of friends, and their friends.
It all started with an idea that popped into my head (from the GeneaGods) late Wednesday afternoon, 23 March 2016, while I was at my desk at work. I wanted to see a family tree pedigree chart that listed ONLY the birth places. I decided also just to list US states (or countries), not counties or towns. Then I thought, why not color code those states so I can visually tell them apart more easily at a glance. And voilà!
I posted my chart on my Facebook feed and it immediately started to get “likes”. I then thought, why don’t I send my excel spreadsheet to my Dropbox account and make a public link and share it. Then, people could make their own charts. To my surprise, not only did they do that, but they also “tagged me” and thanked me for the idea. That’s when more and more people started to see these charts and more and more people joined in.
By Thursday morning until noon, it literally went viral. All day Thursday and then all day Friday. I checked Twitter feeds and saw them, I checked Instagram and saw them, I checked G+ and saw them. What have I created! Such a small simplistic chart with just a small tweak of information from what you usually see. I believe the simple colorful chart and the DIY link just made it irresistible to people.
Then, friends started elaborating the idea, adding a 6th. generation, like DearMYRTLE’s post. I saw even more generations being added, even an hour glass chart by a gay couple showing both sides of their families. Jay Fonkert added flags! Meagan Smolenyak Smolenyak reminded me about her “cause of death” chart from a blog post way back in 2013 that she said she got from Judy G. Russell’s post, who in turn got it from a post by FamilySearch blogger, Nathan Murphy. Another viral chart!
This was great! I like how friends were coming up with all kinds of new ways to use this! Friends were talking to each other about their ancestry and asking questions, me included! Every time I saw Alabama mentioned I would ask that person, where in Alabama are you researching? The conversation between people was so inspiring.
|Viral messages and friend requests on Facebook.|
As of late Friday, I have added 95 new Facebook friends and several Twitter and Instagram friends. Some people were asking me what’s next? Who knows, but I do have some ideas. But, this was truly an irregularity in the social GeneaSphere which I think won’t be seen again for a while.
A special thank you to Crista Cowan of Ancestry.com for the special hash tag #MyColorfulAncestry. She said if everyone used it when all this started, we probably would have trended on Facebook. Wow!
There is too many people to list and I gave up on counting all the posts, but I will list a few friends that have posted their charts across some social platforms.
@genealogyisfun (Jana Last)
@ChrisMPaton (Chris Paton)
@genkracke (Timo Kracke)
@HVSresearch (Helen V Smith)
@GenealogyLadyCA (Deborah Sweeney)
@leprchaunrabbitt (Sir Leprechaunrabbit)
@CarolinaGirlGen (Cheri Hudson Passey)
@Lonetester (Alona Tester)
@ancestryjourney (Jen Baldwin)
@AncestryAnne (Ancestry Anne)
@rjseaver (Randy Seaver)
Miriam J. Robbins
And much, much more!!!
Let’s keep the conversation going!
Link to a blank spreadsheet: https://bit.ly/3dvsbkK