Think back two or three weeks to when a trip to your mailbox was like a visit to your personal past. All those Christmas cards and family newsletters stirring up memories of friends and family members. If you’re like me, you won’t hear from many of those folks for the next 11 months. That’s a shame, really.
I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I definitely would like to do a better job of keeping up with those people who have enriched my life over the years. At one time, e-mail seemed to be the solution. It’s so easy to dash off a message and send it on its way. You could even send the same message to more than one person with one click of the mouse. But, somehow, it hasn’t been that simple.
One thing I’ve started to do this week, though, is track down some of those people important to me and locate them on a map. This is a fairly simple process these days. I’ve started creating mine using Google maps. I’ll be able to pinpoint the locations of every long-lost cousin and uncle at a glance. You can even include contact information, photos and videos.
The map by itself won’t solve my keeping in touch dilemma but it will give me one more tool I can share with my family and friends. By making it interactive and public, every family member can have access to the same data. Hopefully, this digital community will unite us as we once were when we lived in the same community.
There are many other networking tools available, of course, but the choices can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to tie together a community of varying computer skills and appetites. I hope by starting simple, we can open the doors to sharing more of our family histories.