Rootstech 2014, My Thoughts

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

RootsTech just finished it’s fourth year. I’ve gone to the conference every year. This year, I had a different perspective. So here are my critiques.

Hal Bookbinder in the IAJGS booth

1. I went over to the media center a few times to pick up my blogger beads and chat with a few bloggers. I didn’t see RootsTech doing anything different with their official bloggers than any other year, nor was there a noticeable change in who was chosen.

2. Security was kind of iffy. I went to a session on the first day before registering and nobody cared about my lack of a badge. (Apparently, registration wasn’t even open for most hours of that day anyway, so maybe they knew that and thus didn’t care.) I was only registered for the Expo Hall, but nobody checked my badge other days either. I only went to one or two sessions a day, but I shouldn’t have been allowed. The only time someone checked was when I was going back to the Expo Hall the first evening to continue setting up the booth, with bags of supplies in hand.

3. The app went downhill. RootsTech used another vendor. Now, that in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But now, it required a login to add items to the schedule, so I couldn’t even speculate, via the app, what sessions I might go to. That sure discouraged me from upgrading my registration. I don’t know what else changed, since I didn’t bother much with it after that.

4. RootsTech’s theme has definitely switched to storytelling. How to use technology to tell stories, rather than technology’s use in genealogy. But I knew that last year. Maybe they should change the name. StoryRoots?

5. IAJGS had a table in the Expo Hall. This was a first. I was there to help set it up and man the booth during the conference. I was not impressed with RootsTech’s inability to spell “genealogical” on our sign. Good thing we had a banner to replace it. But it was an interesting experience overall, talking to so many people who came by to tell us there was a Jew somewhere in their family. We gave out an awful lot of flyers about our UJGS meeting the next week. I was pretty disappointed at the turn-out; only two new people attended. (I was glad to have them, but we gave out about 150 flyers…)

Thanks RootsTech

And thus concludes another year of RootsTech. Back to working on this year’s IAJGS conference.

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2 Responses to “Rootstech 2014, My Thoughts”

  1. Hi, Banai, I did see you at the booth but every time I was around you were talking to someone. Glad you were busy. Hope all those visitors do participate later somehow in the organization or with its members.
    I was fully registered, and my ID was checked only a few tiimes – for the paid labs and for the lunches – and once for the Expo Hall. (And I think there was another ‘genealogical’ spelling problem for a vender but now I can’t remember which one. )
    RootsTech 2014 was a great experience for me overall, but I have to agree with you about the name.

    • Banai Lynn Feldstein says:

      Diane, I missed talking to a lot of people that I didn’t see or just didn’t recognize in person from online pictures/avatars. Between sessions, we had a pretty steady stream of visitors to our table, which we were glad about. It was quieter in between.

      I understand checking badges for paid-for events; that would be very important. They didn’t care about the evening entertainment tickets either, I remember now. I don’t know if the “easy” security was a choice or a shortage of security/volunteers, but either way, I got to the few sessions that sounded interesting to me, so it worked out in my favor.

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